London: A still life painting that was once believed to be the work of an anonymous artist has been discovered to be that of Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh.
The artist painted the picture during his time in Paris when living with his brother Theo.
His works from this period are notoriously difficult to identify as he had not described them in letters to his brother, who returned to Holland first.
Art historians have always relied heavily on Van Gogh’s letters describing in detail his work including the Sunflower oeuvre when pronouncing on genuine works by the Dutch painter whose works are now virtually priceless in monetary terms.
As recently as 2003 the floral still life was identified as being painted by an “unidentified artist”.
The canvas has been in the possession of the Kroller- Muller museum in Arnhem since 1974.
A new X-ray technique is helping experts re-examine the painting.
Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum who took part in the confirmation process said an indistinct image of wrestlers had drawn continuing interest of researchers.
Now, a new more detailed X-ray has shown the wrestlers in more detail, along with the brush strokes and pigments used. They all pointed back to Van Gogh.
“You can see the wrestlers more clearly and the fact that they are wearing loin cloths,” the Telegraph quoted Van Tilborgh as saying.
Having models pose half naked was a defining characteristic of the Antwerp academy where Van Gogh studied in early 1886. So was the size of the canvas, the Kroeller-Mueller Museum said in a statement.
Vincent wrote to his brother about needing the large canvas, new brushes and paint. Theo helped the penniless artist buy the materials and a week later Van Gogh wrote back that he was delighted with the painting of two wrestlers.