The Potato Eaters by van Gogh

Illustration

Mark Cartwright
by Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
published on 16 March 2022

An 1885 oil on canvas painting, The Potato Eaters, by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90), the Dutch post-impressionist artist. Painted in Neunen, Netherlands. Van Gogh created this work by combining various earlier studies of individuals, hence their rather isolated nature. The artist has given the figures contoured faces and hands – picked out by the light from the single lamp – which remind of the bowl of potatoes they are eating from. The work was not well-received by dealers or fellow artists, but van Gogh thought highly of it, even producing a reworking of it in the last year of his life. He described his purpose in the painting in a letter to his brother Theo:

I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labour, and how they have honestly earned their food. (LT 370)

(Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)

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APA Style

Amsterdam, V. G. M. (2022, March 16). The Potato Eaters by van Gogh. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/image/15462/the-potato-eaters-by-van-gogh/

Chicago Style

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum,. "The Potato Eaters by van Gogh." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 16, 2022. https://www.worldhistory.org/image/15462/the-potato-eaters-by-van-gogh/.

MLA Style

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum,. "The Potato Eaters by van Gogh." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 16 Mar 2022. Web. 04 Oct 2022.

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