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Vincent van Gogh Self Portraits

by VanGoghology
Vincent to Theo September 6, and September 20, 1889

Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy.

People say – and I’m quite willing to believe it – that it’s difficult to know oneself – but it’s not easy to paint oneself either. Thus, I’m working on two portraits of myself at the moment – for want of another model – because it’s more than time that I did a bit of figure work. One I began the first day I got up, I was thin, pale as a devil. It’s dark violet blue and the head whiteish with yellow hair, thus a color effect.


Today I’m sending you my portrait of myself, you must look at it for some time – you’ll see, I hope, that my physiognomy has grown much calmer, although the gaze may be vaguer than before, so it appears to me.

I have another one which is an attempt from when I was ill. But I think this one will please you more, and I’ve tried to create something simple, show it to Père Pissarro if you see him.

Vincent produced a number of self-portraits during his creative tenure for diverse purposes. One of the primary reasons for his self-portraits was a restricted availability of models. Van Gogh frequently encountered difficulty in finding individuals who were prepared to pose for him, and of course lack of money, hence he resorted to using himself as an easily accessible subject. Through the act of creating self-portraits, he was able to hone his artistic abilities.

Van Gogh’s prolific creation of self-portraits was driven by his strong inclination for self-expression. By means of his self-portraits, he effectively communicated his own musings, sentiments, and challenges. Van Gogh employed his own likeness as a means to delve into his own psyche and communicate his individual encounters. His self-portraits frequently depicted his psychological condition and emotional distress, offering insight into his internal realm.

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