Self-portrait as a painter, 1888
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Although he painted many self-portraits, this is one of the few in which Van Gogh depicted himself as an artist, with all the necessary equipment: palette, brushes, and a canvas on a wooden easel.
Contrasting colors, such as the blue of the smock and the orange-red of the beard, are set right next to each other in order to strengthen their effect. The red and green strokes of the face are placed so close together that they appear as a grey shadow when seen from a distance.
While most of Van Gogh’s other self-portraits are rather sketchy, this one has been finished down to the last detail. The short, dry strokes have been applied with care. Van Gogh probably worked on the painting for some time, and he was apparently quite satisfied with it: in contrast to most of his works in this genre, he has signed it prominently.