Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Antwerp, December 1885
oil on canvas,
44.4 cm x 33.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh painted this man in Antwerp (BE), where he lived from late November 1885 to late February 1886. He has impressive features, as Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: 'I have an appointment for tomorrow with a splendid old man — will he come???'
Van Gogh had a hard time finding suitable models. Besides, models were expensive. But this man did show up to pose for him. Van Gogh thought that the man's full beard made him look like the author Victor Hugo. Using rough but well-placed brushstrokes, he made a compelling portrait.