In a routine cleaning of a 17th Century painting by the Dutch painter Vermeer art experts were stunned to discover the painted over image of a man bent over and mooning towards the viewer.
The Milkmaid, sometimes called The Kitchen Maid was painted around 1658 and depicts a domestic kitchen maid pouring milk from a jug into an earthenware bowl.
“We were astounded,” said art expert Hans van de Hoefen of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam “to discover the faint outline of a man’s arse in the corner of the room. After more cleaning an x-ray image was taken and we found a man bent over and grinning with his hairy arse pointing straight towards us.”
The mooner is bent over to the left of the woman where, in the finished painting there is a large whitewashed wall. The blank corner has previously led to speculation that the artist may have had other intentions for it or simply got bored. “Now, we definitely know the reason for the existence of the whitewash.”
There is now much speculation as to who the man could be, "Almost all of Vermeer's paintings are set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft and they often portray the same people, mostly bored looking women. The man may be the serial Dutch prankster Michel van de Kristian who sneaked in during the sitting. He was later deported to Australia for a prank too far.” Explained Hans van de Hoefen.
“We now think that the woman’s downcast eyes and pursed lips express stifled laughter at the mystery man’s behaviour, rather than wistfulness or concentration as was previously thought."
Experts are now exploring Vermeer’s other works. Speculation that a woman with her tits out has been discovered in his famous work, ‘The Music Lesson’ is unfounded say experts.