'Yesterday I drew a very large, rather rare night moth. [...] To paint it I would have had to kill it, and that would have been a shame since the animal was so beautiful.' wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo in May 1889. Later Vincent decided to paint the moth after all, using his drawing as a model. Van Gogh called the moth a 'death's-head-moth' and depicted a kind of skull on the back of its body. However, it was actually a giant peacock moth, a species that has only stripes there.