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Van Gogh self-portrait 'is actually his brother'

23rd June 2011

A painting by Vincent van Gogh which was long believed to be a self-portrait is actually a depiction of his brother, it has emerged.

The 1887 work depicts a red-haired man with a goatee beard and a yellow sun hat and was long thought to be one of the Dutch artist's many self-portraits, until analysis at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum discovered the man in the painting is actually Theo van Gogh.

Louis van Tilborgh, the museum's head researcher, came to the conclusion after comparing the painting with an actual Van Gogh self-portrait and finding that Theo had shaven cheeks, differently-shaped ears and a slightly lighter beard colour.

'They are two small, detailed portraits that when you see them you think they belong together,' he commented.

Museum spokeswoman Linda Snoek added that the painting was likely created when the two men lived together in Paris.

'People have often thought it was funny that there were no portraits of Theo, given that they were so close,' she said.

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