Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), The Hague, December 1882-January 1883
pencil, lithographic crayon, pen and brush and ink, on paper,
60.0 cm x 36.0 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This old man in a top hat was probably a resident of the Almshouse for Men and Women in The Hague. Van Gogh preferred subjects with a working-class appearance. He made a large series of studies of heads like these, partly to practise depicting faces and expressions. In the case of this old man, he was successful: his sunken cheeks and the weary look in his eyes seem completely authentic.
In this drawing, Van Gogh used many different shades of black. He scratched away some of the deep black lithographic ink in the hat to suggest a gleaming stripe.