Tonight is a little bit of a light post for me. My friend Micah Christensen shared a fun article today and it was too good not to pass onto the MC crowd. The title of the article is How a grasshopper got stuck-leaving its mark in Van Gogh’s painting – on a summer’s day in Provence.
The article is posted on ArtNewspaper.com. It was written by Martin Bailey. I don’t want to share so much that you don’t go to the original article, so I will keep it brief, and please go read Bailey’s article!
Some fame-hungry or art-loving (maybe both?) little grasshopper decided to get a closer look at Van Gogh’s painting of olive trees and ended up embedded in the work. Maybe to be extracted at some later day when grasshoppers have gone extinct and have their DNA extracted and cloned to restore these noble insects to their place in the ecosystem… maybe. Either way, it’s a fun little closeup glimpse that somehow makes this painting just a little more intimate for me. The same way that seeing one of JMW Turner’s fingerprints, or Michelangelo’s in a fresco draws a little string of tangible humanity through the centuries and into our time.
Here is the painting that was worthy of the curious hopper’s attention. The circle in red is where it landed. Note, the images are not mine but are linked to the original article.
And here is a close up of the spot:
I love seeing the close-up, not just of the grasshopper, but of the paint swirls and cracks and little spots of pigments and grain. I can imagine the day and moment when the insect came flying along and landed in the paint. I wonder if it was Van Gogh who discovered it because it looks like it was pulled out a bit, or maybe time just allowed for it to desiccate and parts of it fell out over time. It’s a fun little mystery and a detail that adds some fun to art.
Go read the entire article if you can. It’s worth it!