Vincent van Gogh was moved by the plight of labourers who spent their lives performing arduous and soul-destroying work. In 1884, soon after moving to the village of Nuenen in Brabant, he began to depict some of the weavers who found employment in the local industry. The man in The Weaver seems almost like an adjunct to his loom. His hands move automatically as he stares vacantly before him. Van Gogh spent day after day with these people. He wanted to bring them to the attention of city-dwellers, who were oblivious to their very existence.

Van Gogh was also fascinated by the peasants who worked the land. He sketched them digging, weeding, making hay, and harvesting potatoes. The museum has a drawing of a peasant woman bending over to plant beets. The figure is set out in firm, black chalk lines. The focus is mainly on the hands performing the laborious task. The sheet dates from 1885, the year in which Van Gogh painted his famous Potato Eaters.


  • Title: A Weaver's Cottage
  • Date Created: 1884
  • Physical Dimensions: w610 x h475 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: Vincent van Gogh
  • Original Title: Weversinterieur
  • Artist Information: Vincent van Gogh was the son of a pastor and a preacher himself for a while. After he was dismissed in 1880 from his position as preacher in the poor mine region of Borinage in Belgium, he chose the life of an artist. Until 1886 Van Gogh wandered round the Netherlands. His paintings from this period are dark in tone and examples of the difficult life of a peasant. In 1886, Van Gogh left for Paris where his brother Theo had a gallery. He got to know artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat and Gauguin, and these had considerable influence on his work. His colour palette became lighter and he experimented with an impressionistic style of painting. In 1888, Van Gogh settled in Arles; his friend Gauguin would later follow him there. Here, Van Gogh's mental health deteriorated, which led, among other things, to the famous incident when he cut off a piece of his ear. He left around 1250 paintings and 1000 water colours, sketches and drawings, and also an extensive correspondence with his brother Theo.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Donated by A.P. van Hoey Smith 1930, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas on panel

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