Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Antwerp, December 1885
oil on canvas,
46.3 cm x 38.5 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
With her hair in a bun and her jewellery, this woman looks perfectly respectable to us. But to Van Gogh's contemporaries, her low-cut dress and eye makeup told a different story. Van Gogh painted this woman shortly after moving to Antwerp (BE). He needed models so that he could practise portrait painting. Only 'ladies of easy virtue' could be persuaded to pose for a painter they had never met before.
Van Gogh painted this portrait in a single sitting. For the glittering earring, Van Gogh used a thick blob of pinkish-white paint that later fell off.