While gazing intently at the work of a master like Vincent Van Gogh, you might expect to reveal hidden depths - but probably not a dead insect of some sort.

However, that's exactly what has been discovered dried into the Dutch artist's 1889 painting 'Olive Trees'.

The carcass of a dead grasshopper was revealed after curators at a museum in Kansas City scanned the painting as part of its research, blaming its inclusion on the fact that Van Gogh worked outdoors.

"Looking at the painting with the microscope ... I came across the teeny-tiny body of a grasshopper submerged in the paint, so it occurred in the wet paint back in 1889," said conservator Mary Schafer. “We can connect it to Van Gogh painting outside, so we think of him battling the elements, dealing with the wind, the bugs, and then he’s got this wet canvas that he’s got to traipse back to his studio through the fields.

“What’s fun is we can come up with all these scenarios for how the insect landed in the paint.”

See below for the painting and the rather disgusting close-up of the insect:

Via The Guardian