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Insect found hidden under van gough painting   arrow

Some paintings keep their secrets under the paint, but for Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 painting Olive Trees, the secret has been hiding in plain sight – if you know where and how to look.
More than a century after the artist completed his work, researchers have discovered a surprising ‘guest’ lurking in the paint – and they used it to try and discover more about how the artwork was created.
Conservator Mary Schafer at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City recently discovered a 128-year-old grasshopper forever preserved in the paint of the Olive Trees, although it’s so small it could only be spotted under magnification.
If you’re a painter working outdoors, keeping your paint detritus-free is no mean feat. It’s also well-known from his letters to his brother Theo that Van Gogh liked to paint outside – or en plein air, as artists call it.
In an 1882 letter, he inventoried new equipment that would enable him to transport and set up his materials for outside painting; and in an 1885 letter, the hardships of painting outdoors.
“But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself,” he wrote.
“Then all sorts of things like the following happen – I must have picked a good hundred flies and more off the four canvases that you’ll be getting, not to mention dust and sand [..] not to mention that, when one carries them across the heath and through hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them.”
Sometimes these foreign materials embedded in the paint can help tell more about when and where the artwork was created.
“It is not unusual to find insects or plant material in a painting that was completed outdoors,” Schafer said.
“But in this case, we were curious if the grasshopper could be used to identify the particular season in which this work was painted.”