X-ray of painting reveals secret Van Gogh self-portrait

A woman holds "Head of a Peasant Woman."
(Image credit: Neil Hanna/Handout via REUTERS)

While preparing for an upcoming exhibition of impressionist art, conservators with the National Galleries of Scotland made a surprise discovery: what appears to be a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, behind the back of his 1885 painting "Head of a Peasant Woman."

In an interview released Thursday by the National Galleries of Scotland, senior paintings conservator Lesley Stevenson said paintings are routinely X-rayed, in order to gather "information about how the composition evolved, whether or not there were any changes. And lo and behold, we were quite surprised to discover a completely different painting in the X-ray image."

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