Vincent van Gogh believed that drawing was the ‘root of everything’. This was reflected in the remarkable number of more than a thousand graphic works produced by the artist during his short, dramatic life – many of them personal, often lonely explorations of the emerging modern world, anxieties that still speak to us today.
The Drawings of Vincent van Gogh is a comprehensive account celebrating the genius and singularity of the artist’s achievements in this field. Arranged by theme – from drawings of humble harvesters to beautifully rendered depictions of landscape, pensive life studies to memorable sketches of the famous Yellow House in Arles and other places – Van Gogh’s works on paper are explored from a fresh perspective by art historian Christopher Lloyd, who records the artist’s successes, failures, experiments, trials and disappointments. Primarily self-taught, Van Gogh approached drawing instinctually, but soon recognized the importance of mastering the grammar of art – anatomy, modelling, foreshortening, perspective – as well as materials and techniques, in order to convey his emotional responses to a subject as vividly as possible. Using examples from the artist’s voluminous and highly charged family correspondence, sketchbooks, as well as comparative artworks by Rembrandt, Dürer and others, the resulting overview gives us a greater understanding of why drawing is so important within Van Gogh’s unique oeuvre and equals the intensity and reputation of his paintings.