Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, March-April 1885
oil on canvas,
43.2 cm x 34.2 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh painted this woman when he was preparing to paint his now world-famous picture The Potato Eaters. Would he paint the scene by daylight or lamplight? He couldn’t decide, so he was experimenting with all sorts of interior light effects.
In this picture, he was attempting to paint a figure against the light. It was hard to do, he wrote to his brother Theo, ‘it’s a difficult effect’. With the almost black head of the woman and using a lot of white in the window, he succeeded in achieving a strong contrast. He concentrated the light from the window mainly on the woman’s hands.