Hidden Van Gogh painting recreated after 135 years to be displayed in the Louvre

Two Wrestlers Credit: Oxio Palus

A Van Gogh painting hidden for more than 135 years under another painting has been recreated for the first time by scientists using artificial intelligence.

The painting showing two men wrestling against a bold blue background was first revealed by an x-ray in 2012 and was hidden under a painting of flowers by the same artist.

The recreation will be exhibited at the Focus Art Fair in the Louvre from September 1-5 and will then be put up for auction.

British scientists Anthony Bourached and George Kahn from Oxia Palus, an initiative which uses AI to bring hidden paintings to life, then used algorithms to merge together Van Gogh's paintings of people and work by the artist from that period to approximate the content and style of the painting.

These estimations were merged into a final recreation of the "Two Wrestlers" over several months, alongside artist Jesper Eriksson, using 3D printing which recreated brushstrokes similar to the artist's style.

The resurrection process, from ‘Still Life With Meadow Flowers and Roses’, original Van Gogh to ‘Two Wrestlers’ Neo Van Gogh Credit: Oxio Palus

"We've combined the most sophisticated methods for this more than before," Bourached says. "It's my favourite so far."

While there is speculation about the reasons Van Gogh painted over the "Two Wrestlers," a letter written by the artist shows he favoured the artwork.

Writing to his brother in 1866, he said: “This week I painted a large thing with two nude torsos — two wrestlers. I really like doing that.”

Having combined both art and sciences to complete the project, Bourached is optimistic about greater collaborations between the two disciplines.

"Our main objective is to inspire greater investigation into landmarks in art history and what you can learn about these artists through AI."