Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, Februari-July 1885
chalk on paper,
54.5 cm x 42.4 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
It’s hard to spot, but zoom in on the bottom left-hand corner of this drawing and you can just make out two lines written in French in Van Gogh’s hand. The words translate as ‘digger in a potato field, February’. He probably intended to produce a traditional series of pictures of work on the land, one for each month of the year.
From his letters, we know that Van Gogh did not in fact draw this raw-boned peasant in February, but in the summer of 1885. It’s amazing that he could persuade a farm worker to pose for him right in the middle of the busy harvest period.