Nuenen, July - August 1885 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
oil on canvas on panel,
41.8 cm x 32.5 cm
Credits: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (bequest of Dr. M. Rehfisch)
This farm worker is lifting potatoes out of the soil with a fork. For Van Gogh, this painting was an exercise in 'modelling' figures. Having been criticised for the stiff, flat figures in The Potato Eaters, he was trying to give this one a bit more life and volume. The woman's pose is still slightly rigid. The proportions are not quite right either: her head is too small compared to her body, her hands are huge, and her wooden shoes are gigantic. In the sky, there is a tiny hint of blue.