AMSTERDAM (AFP) – For a long time, the bright-eyed boy within the was believed to be the legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh on the age of 13.
But consultants revealed Thursday (Nov 29) that the image is probably not the Dutch “Sunflowers” painter however his brother Theo, who was 15 on the time.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam introduced the shock discovery about what was beforehand considered considered one of solely two photographs of Vincent, and which has appeared in dozens of books.
“With this discovery, we are an illusion poorer and a portrait of Theo richer,” stated Axel Rutger, director of the Van Gogh Museum.
“Of course there was a slight twinge of disappointment also because we have so few photographs of Vincent van Gogh and now we have even one less,” he instructed AFP.
“But on the other hand of course I am always happy if you can discover more of the truth.”
The discovery leaves only one recognized image of the artist, taken when he was 19 years previous.
While Vincent Van Gogh is famed for his vividly-coloured, emotionally turbulent self-portraits in oils, he confirmed a stunning reluctance to be captured on digital camera.
He dedicated suicide on the age of 37 in 1890 after an emotionally turbulent life, detailed in years of correspondence with Theo, an artwork supplier who supported the artist emotionally and financially.
“When I heard that this is most likely a picture of my great-grandfather Theo – and not of Vincent – I was surprised, but I am glad that the mystery has been solved,” Willem van Gogh, Theo’s great-grandson and an advisor to the board of the Van Gogh Museum, stated in an announcement.
‘Image that everyone is aware of’
Uncovering the case of mistaken id took years of creative detective work.
The image was taken by taken by Brussels photographer Balduin Schwarz within the late 19th century, however didn’t emerge publicly till 1957, in an exhibition by Mark Edo Tralbaut, a Belgian researcher who recognized it in a list as ‘Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh (circa 1866)’.
“It is the image that everybody knows as the portrait of the artist as a young boy,” Teio Meedendorp, chief researcher on the Van Gogh Museum, instructed AFP.
But after a Dutch TV programme raised questions on it in 2014, the Van Gogh Museum launched an investigation.
Coincidentally, one other Van Gogh skilled from Belgium, Yves Vasseur, had additionally began his personal enquiries and bought in contact with the museum.
Vasseur stated he found by likelihood that the photographer had solely moved to his Brussels studio in 1870, 4 years after the picture was taken, and that Vincent Van Gogh would have been a lot older on the time.
“I decided to share my doubts about the identification with the Van Gogh Museum, and we subsequently decided to collaborate to solve this ‘identity crisis’ once and for all,” he stated.
Confusing the difficulty was the truth that the brothers appeared alike, with reddish-blond hair – however Theo had extra delicate options and a “very light eye colour” which appeared prefer it may very well be seen within the picture, “The light colour of Theo’s eyes is especially striking in the known photographs of him, and this can also be seen in the Schwarz portrait – this was another indication that the person in the portrait is probably Theo,” added Meedendorp.
The museum then commissioned a forensic research by a professor at Amsterdam University which confirmed with a “high degree of probability” that the picture was of Theo.
“In the end we have lost a portrait, a photograph portrait of Vincent but we have found a new photography portrait of Theo,” Vasseur instructed AFP.