|Top: the researched painting. Bottom: a work by Léon Augustin Lhermitte|
|Top: the researched painting (close-up). Bottom: a work by Léon Augustin Lhermitte|
Vincent Van Gogh wrote that:
"If every month Le Monde Illustré published one of his compositions... it would be a great pleasure for me to be able to follow it. It is certain that for years I have not seen anything as beautiful as this scene by L'hermitte... I am too preoccupied by L'hermitte this evening to be able to talk of other things."Vincent Van Gogh admired Lhermitte immensely, and often refers to Lhermitte's work in his letters. For instance in a letter to Theo Van Gogh in July 1885 Vincent mentions Lhermitte by name no fewer than 8 times, ranking him among "the great": "to my mind, Millet and Lhermitte are the true artists, because they do not paint things as they are, examined in a dry analytical manner, but as they, Millet, Lhermitte, Michelangelo, feel them to be."
See Henriet, Le Peintre Léon Lhermitte et son oeuvre gravé, and Henriet, Les Eaux-fortes de Léon Lhermitte.
While studying van Gogh’s letters, particularly letter nr. 496 (source: vangoghletters.org), I’ve stumbled upon the work „Le labourage (Ploughing)” by Léon Augustin Lhermitte.
Lhermitte fascinated van Gogh to a great extent and he influenced van Gogh’s works of the period 1883-1885.
A number of compositions by van Gogh were inspired by Lhermitte.
Van Gogh put Lhermitte’s composition (ploughman with a pair of horses) into his painting and turned it the other way round. It’s an example of Van Gogh using the style and composition from that French artist.
It is most certain for Van Gogh researchers, that it cannot be an accidental comparison.