Mystery of the hidden pig discovered in 17th century Dutch painting

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The hidden image of a butchered pig has been discovered by a restorer in a 17th century Dutch painting 350 years after it was painted.

Barn Interior, one of 16 paintings given to Calvin College in Michigan by alumnus Cornelius Van Nuis two years ago, shows a woman and two children inside a barn. It was painted by Egbert van der Poel, who lived from 1621 to 1664.

Last summer, Joel Zwart, the director of exhibitions at the college, sent the picture to Barry Bauman, a Chicago-based art conservator, for cleaning.

The restoration work also revealed information about the painting's history. It turns out that the work is a "pendant," one of a pair of paintings on a shared theme. Barn Interior's companion painting hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

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