Head of a woman, 1884
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Van Gogh produced this drawing of a peasant woman, her careworn face marked by adversity, between December 1884 and May 1885. During this period he was working with great discipline on studies of Nuenen’s peasant population. With her absent, introverted gaze this woman seems to symbolise the hardships of peasant life.
Virtually all the artist’s studies of heads, arms and hands were building blocks for one large painting with several figures, The potato eaters, from 1885. Head of a woman, which is more detailed in execution that the majority of these studies, is also one of the preparatory works for this famous painting.