Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Potato Eaters

We have all seen Van Gogh's painting, 'Irises:'

and 'Starry Night:'

But this one is a bit different:

This is called 'The Potato Eaters' and was painted not long before his introduction to the Impressionists, the likes of Gauguin, Lautrec, Monet, Manet, Degas. This one was painted in dark hues, hues he used to capture the colors of the potatoes, the soil and the dismal life of the potato pickers whom he described as caught in the dregs of darkness, every bit as much as the coal miners he painted while living in the Borinage area of Belgium.

I have a special love for this painting because it was done prior to his move to Paris, prior to the influences of the artists he met there. This is pure, raw Van Gogh. These are the people he knew, and knew well. This particular family was not simply one he paid to pose. These were his closest friends, especially the young girl in the foreground. She was very close to him, close enough where, when she, at the age of seventeen, became pregnant, Vincent was almost forced to wed her under the priest's incorrect presumption that he was the father.

I wonder how different Van Gogh's art would have been had he wed this young thing and stayed in Nuenen. Would he, without the influence if the Impressionists, have continued to paint in dark hues and straight lines? Would the world have never known the beauty of the lightness of his colors?


  1. Wow, you really know a lot about Mr. VG.

  2. Oh, i just read a lot about him, is all. :)


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