Van Gogh was afraid to depict people when he was actively learning the art of drawing (pre-painting). Fortunately, his future self knew better.
More on that soon, I promise.
But for today – jump forward in time with me, to the only etching he ever made, during the last year of his life. Dr Paul Gachet provided at-home care for Vincent in a village near Paris (which is absolutely “on the list”). He happened to be a hobbyist etcher himself, as well as an avid art collector, and their relationship grew to such an intimate fellowship that he convinced Van Gogh to try his hand at an etching (in pure The Princess Bride, “I’ve got a prepared copper plate up here” fashion).
I’ll let Van Gogh’s own words supplement the pathos of this piece and his two other portraits of the good doctor, which I absolutely adore on so many levels:
Shot on Pixel 6 Pro, black and white filter.