Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Nuenen, January-February 1884 and Autumn 1885
oil on canvas,
41.5 cm x 32.2 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh made this little painting for his mother, to cheer her up. She had broken her leg and had to stay in bed. It shows the church in Nuenen where Vincent's father was the minister. It was the first painting he gave to his parents.
The scene differs from Vincent's earlier sketch in a letter and drawing of the church. In both previous versions, there is a peasant with a spade in the foreground. That same farmer is visible in an X-ray image of the painting. This shows that Van Gogh altered parts of the painting later. He replaced the peasant with a group of churchgoers and added autumn leaves to the bare trees and the hedge. The canvas is on an original stretcher frame with traces of paint. Van Gogh probably wiped off his brushes on the stretcher.
Missing for years
For years, this painting was missing. In 2016 it was found, yet the work showed a severe loss. Now, the conservation treatment is completed and the painting is back on view in the museum. Watch the video of the cleaning process:
Visit the web app Unravel Van Gogh (opens in new browser window) and discover more about the cleaning process.