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Vincent van Gogh, Landscape with Ploughman

Key facts
Full title Landscape with Ploughman
Artist Vincent van Gogh
Artist dates 1853 - 1890
Date made 1889
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 49 × 62 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from a private collection
Inventory number L1333
Location Room 43
Image copyright On loan from a private collection, Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Images
Collection Main Collection
Landscape with Ploughman
Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh painted this view from his window at the asylum in Saint-Rémy, following a severe epileptic attack which had prevented him from painting. Typical of his work at this date, the scene is based on direct observation but is laden with personal meaning. The hardworking ploughman, tilling the soil at dawn, becomes a symbol for the artist himself: in October 1889, Van Gogh wrote to his mother, ‘I am ploughing on my canvases as they do in their fields’. The heightened colours and animated, loaded brushwork also demonstrate Van Gogh’s increasing recognition that colour and surface had expressive potential, independent of the objects they described. This painting is one of many Van Gogh completed in the final two years of his life that celebrated the work of manual labourers, set in landscapes awash with vitality and movement.

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