Nuenen, September - October 1885 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
oil on canvas,
39.3 cm x 46.5 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
For a while, Van Gogh was fascinated with birds' nests. In 1885, he made them the subject of five still lifes in a row. He wrote to his brother Theo that he thought these would appeal to nature lovers, 'because of the colours of the moss, dry leaves and grasses, clay &c.'.
Earlier that summer, Vincent had told Theo how he got the nests. He had gone out with a peasant boy to look for them. They found six, 'from which the young had already flown, so that one could take them without too many pangs of conscience.'