An examination of Van Gogh works at a Kansas City museum yielded a surprising find when one worker spotted the body of a grasshopper embedded in one of the legendary artist’s paintings.
The dead bug, which has seemingly been hiding in plain sight for over a century, was noticed by a conservator named Mary Schafer when she was taking a magnified look at a painting.
Much to her surprise, the amplified look at the artwork revealed the remains of a grasshopper that had seemingly gotten stuck in the paint as the work was being created.
According to art experts, the newfound grasshopper is a remarkable example of Van Gogh’s painting process which saw the artist often working outdoors. If you look close it looks like the grasshopper was pressed into the painting.
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So, how long did it take the painting to dry?
That depends on a variety of factors: the depth or thickness of the paint, the medium combined with the paint, the color and composition of the paint, whether its painted on canvas or wood panel, etc., etc. Usually a painting will dry “to the touch” within a few hours, but you wouldn’t want to push your finger into it and surface dry in a matter of days. Very impasto paintings can take many decades to dry completely. No doubt, very thick areas of Van Gogh’s painting are still pliable, and it is said that even some of DaVinci’s works are not completely cured.
Sorking outdoors may seem somewhat unorthodox method resulted in many natural elements, like dust and other insects, finding their way onto the painter’s canvas as he worked.
Unfortunately for art or insect aficionados hoping to catch a glimpse of the grasshopper during a visit to the museum, its tiny nature makes the bug rather difficult to discern without the aid of a magnifying glass.
The question remains, why didn’t the artist see the insect? If he did why wasn’t it removed before the paint dried?
Vincent van Gogh painted at least 18 paintings of olive trees, mostly in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1889. He died in 1890. At his own request, he lived at an asylum there from May 1889 through May 1890 painting the gardens of the asylum and, when he had permission to venture outside its walls, nearby olive trees, cypresses and wheat fields.
The olive tree paintings had special significance for van Gogh.
A group in May 1889 represented life, the divine and the cycle of life while those from November 1889 arose out of his attempt to symbolize his feelings about Christ in Gethsemane. His paintings of olive pickers demonstrate the relationship between man and nature by depicting one of the cycles of life, harvesting or death. It is also an example of how individuals, through interaction with nature, can connect with the divine.