Head of an Old Man, 1885
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
‘Tomorrow I have an appointment with a wonderful old man – will he come?’ Van Gogh painted this old man – who did indeed meet his appointment –‘by way of a test for model [painting].’ He desired such practice as he hoped to earn something by portraiture. In Antwerp, Van Gogh hatched all manner of schemes for making a living by painting. If he was unsuccessful with portraits, he planned to paint townscapes as souvenirs for tourists, or even to paint signboards for shops.