Grasshoppers develop with the seasons, but since the insect in Van Goghs’s paint was no longer alive, it does not help in dating the picture.
Van Gogh wrote several times about his delight at cicadas flying in the olive groves in the summer heat and he once sketched three of the insects in a letter to his brother.
Conservators initially hoped that this might help date the picture, which was done while the artist was living at the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, in the south of France.
While it might seem surprising that this kind of creature could be unearthed within a painting, it makes sense since van Gogh was known to paint outside.
“It is not unusual to find insects or plant material in a painting that was completed outdoors,” Schafer said in a statement.
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