Van Gogh self-portrait found hidden behind another painting

Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. self-portrait / ˌsɛlfˈpɔr trɪt / (n.) – a picture or painting that someone makes of himself/herself

    I drew a self-portrait for art class today.

  2. canvas / ˈkæn vəs / (n.) – a material made of cloth that artists usually paint a picture on

    Michael ordered a big canvas for his painting of Mt. Fuji.

  3. sitter / ˈsɪt ər / (n.) – a person who poses for a painting or a photo

    I’m having a hard time taking photos because the sitter keeps moving.

  4. curator / kyʊˈreɪ tər / (n.) – a person whose job is to manage museums, libraries, galleries, zoos, etc.

    The curator of the museum gave us a tour and shared some interesting details about the art on display.

  5. thrilling / ˈθrɪl ɪŋ / (adj.) – making someone feel strong emotion or excitement

    Riding a rollercoaster is a very thrilling experience.


Read the text below.

A previously unknown self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh has been discovered behind another of the artist’s paintings, the National Galleries of Scotland said on July 14.

The self-portrait was found on the back of Van Gogh’s “Head of a Peasant Woman” when experts at the Edinburgh gallery took an X-ray of the canvas ahead of an upcoming exhibition. The work is believed to have been hidden for over a century, covered by layers of glue and cardboard when it was framed in the early 20th century.

Van Gogh was known for turning canvases around and painting on the other side to save money.

The portrait shows a bearded sitter in a brimmed hat. Experts said the subject was instantly recognizable as the artist himself, and is thought to be from his early work. The left ear is clearly visible and Van Gogh famously cut his off in 1888.

Frances Fowle, a senior curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, said the discovery was “thrilling.”

“Moments like this are incredibly rare,” she said. “We have discovered an unknown work by Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most important and popular artists in the world.”

The gallery said experts are evaluating how to remove the glue and cardboard without harming “Head of a Peasant Woman.”

Visitors to an upcoming Impressionist exhibit at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh can see an X-ray image of the self-portrait through a lightbox.

“A Taste for Impressionism” runs from July 30 to Nov. 13.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The newly discovered self-portrait will be displayed at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Would you be interested to see it? What’s a work of art that you would love to see in person (ex. Mona Lisa, Starry Night)? Discuss.
  • What kind of art interests you the most (ex. painting, sculpture, poetry)? Would you be willing to try it? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Van Gogh was known for turning canvases around and painting on the other side to save money. Why do you think some artists like Van Gogh keep on creating art despite financial struggles? Discuss.
  • Do you think governments should support artists who are struggling financially? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Lifestyle/Entertainment