So-called “fans” of Van Gogh must not have been too observant of his work, since no one ever seemed to notice that he left a dead grasshopper caked in paint in “Olive Trees.”
Pieces of the small insect, including its thorax and and abdomen, were preserved peacefully in the painting for 128 years, according to the Kansas City Star. A conservator stumbled across the infested find under magnification during research on French paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
“Van Gogh worked outside in the elements,” Julián Zugazagoitia, director of the museum said in a statement to the Kansas City Star, “and we know that he ... dealt with wind and dust, grass and trees, and flies and grasshoppers.”
Via Kansas City Star:
But paleo-entomologist Michael Engel of the University of Kansas reported there was no sign of movement in the surrounding paint, indicating the grasshopper was dead when it fell onto the canvas.
The Nelson left the painting intact without removing the insect. Casual visitors looking at “Olive Trees” in the museum’s Bloch Galleries will not notice the grasshopper.
Image: Vincent Van Gogh