About this artwork

The woman's headdress frames her face, and stands out from the dark background of this small picture. It is one of a series of studies Van Gogh made in connection with a larger painting 'The Potato Eaters' (Vincent van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), completed in May 1885. Largely self-taught Van Gogh was inspired, in these early paintings of Dutch peasants, by the realism of Millet and Courbet. They are dark and sombre in mood, reflecting his models' harsh lives. He painted them while living with his parents in Nuenen, South Holland.

  • title: The Head of a Peasant Woman
  • accession number: NG 2216
  • artist: Vincent van GoghDutch (1853 - 1890)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Rich and poor
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1885
  • measurements: 46.40 x 35.30 cm (framed: 72.10 x 60.50 x 8.20 cm)
  • credit line: Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's brilliant, emotionally charged paintings are the most well known of all Post-Impressionist works. Born in Holland, the son of a pastor, he tried picture dealing, teaching and book selling, before training for the ministry. After dismissal from a mission in Belgium he concentrated on painting. His arrival in Paris in 1886 and his contact with the Impressionist painters made a dramatic impact on his work. Van Gogh's concern with light and colour led him to the south of France, where his paintings began to reflect his increasingly disturbed state of mind. He died after shooting himself in July 1890.