KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An amazing discovery – locked in paint.
A curator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently discovered a unique object trapped inside a 128-year-old Van Gogh painting — a grasshopper.
Can you spot it in the video above?
Vincent van Gogh painted “Olive Trees” in 1889, and a few years ago a worker at the Nelson-Atkins Museum began to examine the painting for a new catalog she is producing. While looking at the bottom part with a microscope, she ran across what she thought to be a leaf.
Turns out, it was a dead grasshopper.
An entomologist at the University of Kansas believes the grasshopper was already dead when Van Gogh painted it into his scene, and they say it was just a hazard of painting outside.
“It’s not uncommon to find plant material, bugs, singing and stuck in the paint of works that we created outside,” Nelson-Atkins Conservator of Paintings Mary Schafer said. “But in this case, we are able to talk about the grasshopper with our visitors in a fun way, learning about van Goghs process and how he painted,”
The grasshopper is very small and not easy to find, but if you want to try, you can see it hanging in the museum’s Bloch Impressionist Gallery.
“We don’t really know exactly the circumstances, but it certainly wasn’t a grasshopper that just jumped in the paint,” Schafer said. “Apparently they’re quite strong and can jump right back out.”