One of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings happened to have part of a grasshopper lodged in the paint for 128 years. Buzz60’s Josh King (@abridgetoland) has the details.
This is not something researchers at museums see every day.
When curators at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art put the Vincent van Gogh 19th-century masterpiece Olive Trees under the microscope to better understand the Dutch painter’s artistic process, a little critter was found entombed within the thick oil paint.
The unusual discovery was unexpected but not that surprising. After all, Van Gogh is one of the world’s best known plein airs artists, and his famous landscapes were painted within the very fields and gardens that were his subject matter.
The microscopic insect cannot be seen with the naked eye, and so it remained unnoticed for over a century. It made for a particularly exciting find, as the museum’s team was hopeful that they could use it to determine the season in which the work was made. The museum contacted paleo-entomologist Dr. Michael S. Engel, senior curator and professor at the University of Kansas and associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, but unfortunately the grasshopper’s body could not confirm precise dating.