Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Arles, June 1888
oil on canvas,
65.8 cm x 55.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Do the colours in this painting seem a little harsh or ‘coarse’? That was exactly what Van Gogh intended. He wanted to 'work on portraits that are vulgar, even garish like [this] one. It teaches me, and that's what I ask of my work above all.' For the sake of the colour contrast, he painted red bricks on the right. Such bricks were not used in Arles.
Van Gogh was pleased that he had the opportunity to draw and paint this infantryman. There was nothing he liked more than working with models. But he rarely found people who were willing to pose for him.