This woman may not look like a prostitute at first glance. But in the nineteenth century, loose hair was a sign of loose morals.
Vincent van Gogh initially considered painting portraits an effective means of earning money, but his intentions soon became more serious. He wanted to capture the soul and character of his models. He perceived the intensity of modern life in the ‘heads’ of prostitutes. In this portrait, Van Gogh used rough brushstrokes to paint her face. He succeeded in giving her features volume and life.