Much of what we know about Van Gogh comes from his correspondence, especially with his brother Theo, collected and published posthumously by Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, his brother’s widow. In one of the letters, dated January 22, 1886, composed while studying in Antwerp at the Academy, Vincent also writes “… this week I painted a big thing with two nude torsos … two wrestlers”, an exercise probably.
This annotation changed the life of the painting “Vase of Flowers”, later “Still life with meadow flowers and roses”, which experts claimed could not be by Van Gogh, despite the signature, because it was too big and too .. crowded. The signature was also in an unusual position, in the upper right corner. The painting hung for decades in a Dutch museum with an incorrect attribution before the X-ray revealed that it was hiding a completely different subject underneath: a boxing match, and, thanks to the letter, only in 2003, it was recognized. autograph to Van Gogh.
Do you want to have fun combining x-rays and paintings? This couple and others are in our game: