van Gogh's green and peasant landscape

European researchers have used a powerful new X-ray technique to reveal a hidden van Gogh beneath another of his paintings. The portrait of an unknown peasant woman apparently lies below one of the Dutch Master's lesser known green and pleasant landscapes. The work could now be used to seek out, in unprecedented detail, masterpieces hidden beneath other paintings. The painting, Patch of Grass, was not considered one of his most famous works but that has now changed thanks to work by an international European research team. Joris Dik of Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands and colleagues including chemist Koen Janssens of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, used a new technique with synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy in their study. The technique can reveal unprecedented contrast as well as distinguishing between different heavy metals in the pigment so allowing the researchers to guess at the skin tones used in the portrait.