Languages
Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 15:43 UK

X-rays reveal Van Gogh portrait

Image revealed under Vincent van Gogh painting Patch of Grass from 1887
The identity of the peasant woman is not known

A new X-ray technique has revealed a previously unknown portrait of a woman by Vincent van Gogh, which was painted over by the artist.

The peasant woman's face was hidden behind the work Patch of Grass, completed by Van Gogh in Paris in 1887.

Scientists Joris Dik and Koen Janssens used high-intensity X-rays from a particle accelerator to scan the painting and reveal the face beneath.

Van Gogh is known to have often reused canvasses to save money.

The identity of the peasant woman in the painting is not known.

The powerful X-ray bombardment caused atoms in the picture's layers of paint to emit "fluorescent" X-rays of their own, which indicated the chemicals they originated from. That enabled a colour map of the hidden picture to be produced.

The portrait fills a square area measuring 17.5cm by 17.5cm (6.8 by 6.8 inches).

Mr Dik, a materials scientist from Delft University, and Mr Janssens, a chemist from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, published their scientific paper online in the journal Analytical Chemistry.


RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific