Van Gogh self-portrait depicts brother

21st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A portrait painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1887, which has been described as a self-portrait, turns out to be a likeness of his brother Theo instead. The Amsterdam Van Gogh museum announced the discovery after renewed reasearch into 93 of Vincent's works.

Although the two brothers were of similar appearance, the museum points out that there were clear differences between them. The person on the painting has an ochre-coloured beard, but clean-shaven cheeks, and displays a handsome round ear, all of which point to Vincent's brother Theo. The museum points out that photos of Theo correspond to the facial characteristics shown in the painting. Vincent's beard was reddish and bushy, and his ears fleshy.

It had been assumed that Vincent never painted a portrait of his brother, with whom he had a close relationship. Theo supported his painting brother through thick and thin.

Other findings suggest that the painting "Wheat field with a lark" is mistitled; the bird shown is in fact a partridge. Other paintings assumed to have been made in 1887 in Asnières near Paris depict scenes from the then recently-planted gardens of the Sacre Coeur basilica in the French capital.

The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam is showing many of the re-researched works until 18 September.

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