This image is based on the portraits by van Gogh with bandaged ear. The two portraits constitute
a herculean effort by Vincent (after the disastrous events in Arles) to stoically carry on. The film about Vincent and Paul Gauguin ( Lust For Life ) has entered into the popular imagination. What people do not always realize, that van Gogh was an intellectual man, well read in the classic literature of his own day. The artist also spoke fluently in at least two additional languages to his own native tongue. So the romantic view of him does not always give the full picture. In the image I have tried to make it bristling with energy, the spiky hat, clashing colours and surge of lines. Though he had kept his control in the portraits he was obviously greatly distressed by the recent events and an uncertain future. I always make a point when in London, to visit the portrait at the Courtaulds Institute Galleries in a serene and quiet space.