Still Life with Bible
Currently on view
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, October 1885
oil on canvas, 65.7 cm x 78.5 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This hefty Bible had belonged to Van Gogh's father, a Protestant minister. Van Gogh painted it just after his father's death. He placed his own copy of Émile Zola's La joie de vivre next to it. That book was a kind of 'bible' for modern life. The books symbolize the different worldviews of Van Gogh and his father.
Vincent described this work to Theo as 'a still life of an open, hence an off-white Bible, bound in leather, against a black background with a yellow-brown foreground, with an additional note of lemon yellow.' He wanted to show that the colour black could be effective. The brothers had previously discussed this question at length.
Theo thought Vincent's canvases were too dark and gloomy. He encouraged his brother to use lighter, brighter tones, as the Impressionists did.
- Object number
- 65.7 cm x 78.5 cm, 88.00 cm x 101 cm
- Taken by the artist from Nuenen to Antwerp, November 1885; taken by the artist to his brother Theo van Gogh, Paris, at the end of February 1886; after his death on 25 January 1891, inherited by his widow, Jo van Gogh-Bonger, and their son, Vincent Willem van Gogh, Paris; administered until her death on 2 September 1925 by Jo van Gogh-Bonger, Bussum/Amsterdam/Laren; given on loan by Vincent Willem van Gogh to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, since 16 December 1930; transferred by Vincent Willem van Gogh, Laren, to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam, 10 July 1962; agreement concluded between the Vincent van Gogh Foundation and the State of the Netherlands, in which the preservation and management of the collection, and its placing in the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, to be realized in Amsterdam, is entrusted to the State, 21 July 1962; given on loan until the opening of the museum on 2 June 1973 to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; on permanent loan to the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh from 2 June 1973 and at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, since 1 July 1994.
- Vincent van Gogh
- Credits (obliged to state)
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Real Van Gogh: the Artist and His Letters, 23 January 2010 - 18 April 2010, no. 122
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, Van Goghs brieven. De kunstenaar aan het woord, 9 October 2009 - 3 January 2010
Nagoya, The Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Van Gogh in context, 26 July 2005 - 25 September 2005, no. 1
Ōsaka, National Museum of Art, Van Gogh in context, 31 May 2005 - 18 July 2005, no. 1
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, De boekenkast van Vincent, 10 March 2004 - 27 June 2004
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Ed. by E. van Uitert and M. Hoyle; with contrib. from H. van Crimpen ... [et al.], The Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, 1987, p. 134-135, 322
Tsukasa Kodera, Vincent van Gogh : christianity versus nature, 1990, p. 43-45
Evert van Uitert, Louis van Tilborgh, Sjraar van Heugten, Vincent van Gogh : schilderijen, 1990, p. 54-55