Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Etten, April 1881
pencil, pen and brush and ink, watercolour, on paper,
48.1 cm x 36.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This was not the first copy that Van Gogh made of The Sower by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875). Nor was it the last one: it was a painting that Van Gogh greatly admired. He saw the sower as a symbol of the cycle of life: growth, flourishing and the harvest.
This drawing is based on a black-and-white print of the painting. That led to minor misunderstandings. Take the grains of wheat that Van Gogh's sower is scattering behind him. In the original painting, there were birds there. These became dots in the print, which Van Gogh interpreted as seed for sowing.