Picture “Potato Eaters”, Vincent Van Gogh, 1885 – description
- Posted by Vincent Van Gogh
- Museum: Vincent van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- Year: 1885
Description of the picture :
Potato Eaters – Van Gogh. 1885. Oil on canvas. 82×114
The painting was not given to the artist for a long time. It is known that at least 12 etudes for work were created, which were destroyed by the author ruthlessly. Every day, the master visited the peasant house de Grootov, when the whole family sat down for dinner and tried to “capture” the very atmosphere of a peasant meager dinner – a well-deserved meal of people of hard physical labor.
Before us in the dim light of the kerosene lamp, people at the table. Before them is a dish with baked potatoes, and a cup of barley coffee is the only “luxury” that the peasants can afford. Nape hands, dark skin. The artist is unusually sting in expressive means. In this work there is no such riot of colors that is present in many of the author’s works. The tasks of the artist in this picture are somewhat different than usual.
Many researchers see in the picture satire, the desire to portray people in a state of half-deadness and ignorance. Such a vision of the idea of work has long been the main among the interpretations. But a refutation can be found in the artist’s letters. The author himself spoke with extraordinary respect about the de Groot family. And his main task was to “transfer couples from potatoes”, to create an atmosphere of heavy peasant life and labor.
It is worth carefully looking into the picture of how the relationship in the de Groot family, their hopes, their dreams, their thoughts become clear. The faces of the peasants are naive and open. Their actions are also honest and dictated by simple moral principles. These are people not spoiled by any passions. Hard work and modest reward are two components of peasant life. Potatoes are the cheapest food, and the word “potatoes” itself will tell about people more than many volumes of sociological research.
The de Groot family, one evening, seeing that the artist did not succeed in working, having finished dinner did not disperse, but continued to pose for another two hours, despite the fatigue. It was not easy for the master to part with a kind and hospitable family. The picture as a result was completed in one night. The next day, the artist left the village forever, taking with him one of his most successful works.