Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, September 1889
oil on canvas,
44 cm x 33 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
A stooped figure with a scythe is ready to harvest wheat. Van Gogh copied this scene from a print. Copying was an exercise for beginning painters, but he was not embarrassed to do it: 'I can assure you that it interests me enormously to make copies, and that not having any models for the moment it will ensure, however, that I don’t lose sight of the figure,' he wrote to Theo.
Van Gogh had received hardly any formal training. He had taught himself to draw and paint mainly through endless practice. He had an especially hard time with figures at work. That was a subject he kept practising until the end of his career.