Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, May 1885
oil on canvas,
65.7 cm x 79.3 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
The old cottage beneath the red evening sky presents an idyllic picture of rural life. Van Gogh called these humble farmhouses 'people's nests'. He felt they had a sheltering quality. This cottage contains two houses with two front doors and a shared chimney. That type of dwelling was then on the brink of disappearing. 'The thing struck me greatly; those two cottages, half decayed under one and the same thatched roof, reminded me of a couple of worn-out old folk who make up just one single being and whom one sees supporting each other,' he wrote.
The subject continued to fascinate him. Four years later, in France, he returned to drawing and painting old houses. Over the years, however, his style of painting had changed significantly: by that time, he used bright colours and loose brushwork.