Thursday, August 26, 2010

Painting : Vincent van Gogh's 'The Potato Eaters'

Vincent van Gogh : The Potato Eaters (1885)

There are things which we feel to be good and true, though in the cold light of reason and calculation many things remain incomprehensible and dark. And though the society in which we live considers such actions thoughtless, or reckless, or I don't know what else, what can we say if once the hidden forces of sympathy and love have been roused in us? And though it may be that we cannot argue against the reasoning sentiment and to act from impulse, one would almost conclude that some people have cauterized certain sensitive nerves within them, especially those which, combined, are called conscience. Well, I pity those people; in my opinion, they travel through life without compass..

What I think about my own work is that the painting of the peasants eating potatoes that I did in Nuenen is after all the best thing I did..

You see, I really have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labour and — that they have thus honestly earned their food. I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours — the so-called civilized people. So I certainly don’t want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why..

~ Vincent to Theo


  1. Only an artist with so much of love for life & so much of faith in the goodness of human beings can paint such a work. How many of us earn our food honestly like the potato eaters of Van Gogh? Do we deserve to call ourselves civilised? These questions haunt my mind as I keep looking at this moving painting.

    Thanks for posting such a marvellous painting!

  2. More of cinema please

  3. What about the self proclaimed Robinhoods of modern day?!

  4. People without a conscience often end up looking for answers from external sources such as religion and publicized 'service'

  5. Long time no inspiring blog from you. Pull up your socks and find some time man!

  6. Execellent painting that u've posted.
    Its one of the good pieces of art.
    The painter has not only given a wonderful painting but also the brief explanation of potato eaters has enlightened the whole thing.