van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 10 letters relate to health - eyes...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(12 February 1883)
... [Written at the top of the letter] Until today every night or morning when I woke up, my eyelids were stuck together because of the discharge, but last night for the first time both eyes were all right. Otherwise nothing was apparent except for the whites being somewhat muddy and bloodshot and what they call bags (?) under the eyes, but this is as good as gone, too. ...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(16 October 1888)
... shaping up. For today I am all right again. My eyes are still tired but then I had a new idea in my head and here is the sketch of it. Another size 30 canvas. This time it's just simply my bedroom , only here colour is to do everything, and giving by its simplification a grander style to things, is to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general. In a word, looking at the picture ought to rest the brain, or rather the imagination. The walls are pale violet. The floor is of red tiles. The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish-citron. The coverlet scarlet. The window green. The toilet table orange, the basin blue. The doors lilac. And that is all - there is nothing in this room with its closed shutters. The squareness of the furniture again must express inviolable rest. Portraits on the walls, and a mirror and a towel and some clothes. The frame - as there is no white in...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(17 October 1888)
... nothing, only flat colours in harmony. I do not know what I shall undertake next, for my eyes are still tired even yet. And in just such moments after hard work - and all the more the harder it is - I feel my own noodle empty too, you know. And if I let myself go, nothing would be easier than to detest what I have just done, and kick my foot through it a few times, like old Cézanne. After all, why kick my foot through it - let's leave the studies in peace, even if one sees no good in them; and if we see something that may be called good, well, so much the better. And after all, don't let's meditate on good and bad too deeply - they're always relative. That is exactly the fault of the Dutch, to call one thing absolutely good and another absolutely bad. Nothing in the world is as hard and fast as that. By the way, I have read Richepin's Césarine too; there are some very good things in it, that march on the retreating soldiers, how one feels their...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Paul Gauguin
(17 October 1888)
... was like Japan yet! Childish, wasn't it? Listen, the other day I wrote you that my eyesight was strangely tired. All right, I rested for two and a half days, and then set to work again, but without daring to go out into the open air yet. I have done, still for my decoration, a size 30 canvas of my bedroom with the white deal furniture that you know . Well, I enormously enjoyed doing this interior of nothing at all. Of a simplicity à la Seurat. With flat tints, but brushed on roughly, with a thick impasto, the walls pale lilac, the ground a faded broken red, the chairs and the bed chrome yellow, the pillows and the sheet a very pale green-citron, the blanket blood red, the washstand orange, the washbasin blue, the window green. By means of all these very diverse tones I have wanted to express an absolute restfulness, you see, and there is no white in it at all except a little note produced by the mirror with its black frame (in order to get...
Letter from Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh
(19 October 1888)
... I may read it. I am quite eager to know it. It is very annoying that you have been having trouble with your eyes. What can be the cause of that?

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