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UK gallery unearths hidden Van Gogh

EDINBURGH (AFP) – A gallery in Scotland said yesterday it was “thrilled” to announce the discovery of a previously unknown self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh, with his ear intact, hidden behind another painting.

The portrait was found on the back of the canvas of the Dutch post-Impressionist’s 1885 work, Head of a Peasant Woman, covered by layers of glue and cardboard.

It shows a bearded sitter in a brimmed hat with a neckerchief tied loosely at the neck. It was completed before Van Gogh cut off his left ear in 1888.

Visitors to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh will be able to see it at a forthcoming exhibition, as an X-ray image through a specially designed lightbox.

Longer term, curators are working on safely extracting it from the overlaying canvas without damaging the paintings.

An x-ray image showing a Van Gogh painting. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND