The Zouave, 1888

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Oil on Canvas, 65 X 54 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
  • F 423

The Zouave is the first in the series of character portraits Van Gogh painted in Arles. On 21 June 1888 he wrote to Theo: “Let’s talk about something else. I have a model at last — a Zouave — he’s a lad with a small face, the neck of a bull, the eye of a tiger, and I started doing one portrait and started again on another. The bust-length I painted of him was terribly hard. In a uniform the blue of blue enamel saucepans, with dull orange-red trimmings and two lemon-yellow stars on his chest, a common blue and very hard to do.”

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