Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nieuw Amsterdam, September-November 1883
oil on canvas,
35.4 cm x 55.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh painted Cottages in 1883, while staying in the village of Nieuw-Amsterdam in Drenthe. He wrote enthusiastically to his brother how ‘inexpressibly beautiful’ it was there. But, he added, ‘you can’t see that yet in my studies at all’. He still had ‘to learn a lot more’. In this picture, he is practising how to convey the contrast between a dark foreground and a light sky.
The paint on this canvas contains a lot of sand. It must have blown onto it while Van Gogh was working outdoors. If you zoom in, you can see the bright grains against the dark paint.