National Post (Latest Edition) - - ARTS & LIFE - Evan Man­ning, Na­tional Post

Vin­cent van Gogh was known to en­joy paint­ing out­doors, mean­ing that, on at least one oc­ca­sion, a wan­der­ing grasshopper was able to find its way on to the artist’s can­vas. As was re­cently dis­cov­ered at the Nel­son-Atkins Mu­seum of Art in Kansas City, one of van Gogh’s 1889 paint­ings from his Olive Trees se­ries con­tains a barely no­tice­able grasshopper brushed into the art­work. Mary Schafer, the con­ser­va­tor who dis­cov­ered the grasshopper while ex­am­in­ing van Gogh’s art through a mag­ni­fy­ing glass, said, “Look­ing at the paint­ing with the mi­cro­scope ... I came across the teeny-tiny body of a grasshopper sub­merged in the paint, so it oc­curred in the wet paint back in 1889.” The 19th cen­tury Dutch post- im­pres­sion­ist pain­ter, most fa­mous for Starry Nights and be­ing that guy who cut off his own ear, once de­scribed the con­di­tions he’d paint in, in a let­ter to his brother: “I must have picked up a few hun­dred flies and more off the four can­vases that you’ll be get­ting, not to men­tion dust and sand.” Ex­perts say ca­sual ob­servers won’t be able to spot the in­sect.

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