A small grasshopper has been found embedded in the thick paint of Vincent Van Gogh's Olive Trees, while being examined under magnification.

The insect was discovered by paintings conservator Mary Schafer at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

It likely became submerged in the thick paint of the foreground due to Van Gogh's tendency to paint outside. It is missing its abdomen and thorax and was discovered 128 years after it was first painted.

Picture:Picture: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art via AP

Julián Zugazagoitia, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art director, told the Kansas City Star:

Olive Trees is a beloved painting at the Nelson-Atkins, and this scientific study only adds to our understanding of its richness.

Van Gogh worked outside in the elements, and we know that he, like other plein air artists, dealt with wind and dust, grass and trees, and flies and grasshoppers.

In an 1885 letter to his brother Theo, Vincent Van Gogh wrote of painting outdoors:

But just go and sit outdoors, painting on the spot itself!

Then all sorts of things like the following happen.

I must have picked up a good hundred flies and more off the 4 canvases that you’ll be getting, not to mention dust and sand.

When one carries a team of them across the heath and through hedgerows for a few hours, the odd branch or two scrapes across them

HT Telegraph

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