There’s a grasshopper in the van Gogh. The artist didn’t intend to embed the critter in his canvas when he was painting olive groves in the south of France, but the insect is there, buried in a swirl of paint. For over a century, it went unnoticed in the finished work, “Olive Trees” (1889), now owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but a recent study by the museum’s curators, conservators, and outside scientists has revealed its old, brown carcass. It’s a small but telling trace of van Gogh’s practice of painting outdoors, where conditions were often windy enough to send flies, dust, sand — and, apparently, crickets — blowing around the artist and his canvas.
You can read all about this at Hyperallergic.