In Antwerp, Van Gogh had the desire to paint portraits. Moving to Paris, he tries to improve his skills, constantly drawing friends. In addition, he devoted a lot of time to writing self-portraits. The artist has written more than thirty works in this genre. Many of them had the character of etudes and sketches. So you can describe this self-portrait, executed quickly and with an unfinished look.
The background of the portrait remained unpainted, the artist only slightly marked his color with scattered strokes. He used the tone of the paper as the main color of his face, having outlined the shadow parts with lilac color, and also slightly dazzling the glare. But facial features – eyes, lips, beard and mustaches – are written out much more carefully. The artist singled out the main thing, reducing minor details to a minimum.
At the same time, he also paid attention to peasant accessories – a straw hat and a white blouse, which puts the theme of the picture on the foreground and concentrates the viewer’s attention on its content. It should be noted that this is not the only self-portrait where Van Gogh portrayed himself in a straw hat.
When writing a portrait, Van Gogh used mostly a yellow color, which, apparently, he planned to use as a contrast to the blue background. Only a few lines are clearly marked, the main space of the picture is transparent and incomplete. This makes the work easy, giving it a resemblance to watercolor.