The Potato eaters (1885)

With The Potato Eaters, van Gogh tried to make great work. During March and the beginning of April 1885, he sketched studies for the painting and corresponded with his brother, who was not impressed with his current work or the sketches van Gogh sent him. He worked on the painting from April 13 until the beginning of May, when it was mostly done, except for minor changes which he made with a small brush later the same year.

Van Gogh said he wanted to depict peasants as they really were.”I wanted to convey the idea that the people eating potatoes by the light of an oil lamp used the same hands with which they take food from the plate to work the land, that they have toiled with their hands—that they have earned their food by honest means”.He deliberately chose coarse and ugly models, thinking that they would be natural and unspoiled in his finished work.

Current Location: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands