| ||16 letters relate to lifestyle - appearance...||Excerpt length: shorter longer || |
|Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh|
(c. 25 July 1888)
sheep for chocolate boxes.
Not only my pictures but I myself have become haggard of
late, almost like Hugo van der Goes in the picture by Emil
Only, having got my whole beard carefully shaved off I think
that I am as much like the very placid priest in the same
picture as like the mad painter so intelligently portrayed
And I do not mind being rather between the two, for one must
live, especially because it is no use ignoring the fact that
there may be a crisis some day or other if you were to change
your relations with the Boussods. Another reason for keeping up
this connection with artists, on my part as much as on
Besides, I think I have spoken the truth, but if I should
succeed in replacing in goods the money spent, I should only be
doing my duty. And then, something practical I can do is
As for drinking too much ... if it is bad, I can't tell. But
look at Bismarck, who is in any case very practical...
|Article by Dr. M. B. Medes da Costa|
(December 2 1910)
... master and pupil, was very pleasant indeed. The
seemingly reticent young man - our ages differed but little,
for I was twenty-six then, and he was undoubtedly over twenty -
immediately felt at home, and notwithstanding his lank reddish
hair and his many freckles, his appearance was far from
unattractive to me. In passing, let me say that it is not very
clear to me why his sister speaks of his “more or less
rough exterior”; it is possible that, since the time when
I knew him, because of his untidiness and his growing a beard,
his outward appearance lost something of its charming
quaintness; but most decidedly it can never have been rough,
neither his nervous hands, nor his countenance, which might
have been considered homely, but which expressed so much and
hid so much more.
I succeeded in winning his confidence and friendship very
soon, which was so essential in this case; and as his studies
were prompted by the best of intentions, we made comparatively
|Article by M. J. Brusse|
(May 26 1914)
... I cannot say I was particularly interested.
No, he was not an attractive
boy, with those small, narrowed, peering eves of his and, in fact,
he was always a bit unsociable.
“And then I remember well that he always preferred to
wear a top hat, a bit of respectability he had brought back
from England; but such a hat - you were afraid you might tear
its brim off if you took hold of it. I have often puzzled over
his exact age, hut I cannot find out, for instance, whether he
was old enough to he called up for the militia.”
But he was certainly obliging, and physically very strong,
though he did not look it. During one of those frequent floods
Mr. Braat had admired his physical strength and good nature. At
the time he lived in Tolbrugstraatje - in a room with
whitewashed walls, my informant believed, on which he had made
all kinds of sketches and crude drawings. But his landlord, who
did not like this at all, had repainted them later on. However
this may have...
(April 12 1922)
... me with the following particulars.
One day the Reverend Mr. Van Gogh, from a small town in
Brabant, appeared at the school and introduced a sandy-haired,
somewhat round-shouldered young man who wanted to be a
pupil.... He was accepted.
Soon it appeared that - considering the nature of the school
- he knew quite a lot already. Also, he was much respected for
his warm-heartedness. Yet was he not a stranger in Jerusalem?
He was teased once in a while, for example, when once he
sketched on the blackboard cliffs and a sea-beach; on that
occasion he flew into a rage and hit out furiously.
He did not stay long. He did not know what submission was.
He could no more finish his training as a clergyman than he
could finish his training as Evangelist. When he was
confronted with the task of conjugating irregular Greek verbs,
he asked his teacher, Mendes da Costa, “Are these horrors
really necessary to bring rest and peace to men?” In the
same way, when Master Bokma...
|Article by Benno J. Stokvis|
... he was highly
respected by the farmers. When he set off for work, he
generally wore a sort of raincoat and a sou'wester. In general
his attire was rough [“raw”]. Every day he might be
seen walking with a small campstool under one arm and a square
frame (??) under the other, always staring straight in front of
him, and he took little notice of people. Without doing
strikingly eccentric things, he yet seemed a queer sort of
When Vincent was busy painting, he did not like to be
watched; if anyone stood watching him longer than he liked, he
unreservedly begged the importunate person to clear off. At
times he was anything but meek.
Toward the poor he always showed himself exceedingly
open-handed; he once gave a beggar his own velvet suit, which
was as good as new. Now and then he would hand over a number of
drawings to his father for distribution among the members of
the consistory. If a drawing did not come off
“choicely” enough to his...
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