Two peasant women dig into the field with snow by Vincent Van Gogh

Two peasant women dig into the field with snow by Vincent Van Gogh

While in Saint Remy’s sanatorium, Van Gogh made many copies of the works of old masters, such as Rembrandt, Daumier and especially Mille. Creativity of the latter artist was very appreciated, since he was similarly close to the topic of peasant life and work. The picture “Two peasant women digging in the field with snow” was made based on one of the works of Millet.

The composition of the painting is very close to the original, but Van Gogh went very far from the work of Millet in his author’s interpretation. Mille gives the two working women the features of monumentality, making them the main semantic and compositional center of their work. Van Gogh, by contrast, focuses on the surrounding landscape.

The figures of his peasant women are becoming insignificant and conditional, he paints them as if between deeds, completely ignoring the details of the faces. Of the total compositional mass, only the dark color of clothing distinguishes them, which contrasts with the gray-yellow color of the field.

Painting the scenery behind the backs of women, Van Gogh almost completely departed from the original, giving it a purely individual traits. Especially unusual is the sky. The sunset orange sun becomes alien on the cold green sky, only slightly coloring the wavy clouds with warm colors. In addition to the huge hot sun disk on the horizon, nothing indicates the evening time.

The wide field remains cold, only slightly changing the gray color towards the lemon. Chaotic swirls of strokes give the picture a tinge of anxiety and soreness, which is characteristic of many works of Van Gogh of this period.

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