Two Sources for Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Armand Roulin: A Character Likeness and a Portrait Schema, Arts Magazine, 56, 1981 (September), 156—163

“Vincent van Gogh” “Armand Roulin” “Emile Bernard” “Gauguin” “Charles Barque” “Character Likeness”

Vincent van Gogh used two pictorial prototypes for his Rotterdam portrait of Armand Roulin, one a portrait schema, the other a "character likeness."
Vincent van Gogh's portraits constitute an important part of his oeuvre. Esteemed for their bold innovations and in­sightful characterizations, they have been elevated to the status of modern classics and viewed as  progenitors of modern portraiture. (1) Yet, despite the close study of these works, one aspect has received scant attention, that is, their pictorial sources. (2) That van Gogh used such sources is a well-known fact--at least insofar as other genres are concerned--and one which he openly advocated, as evidenced by a statement in a letter of June 1885 to his brother Theo; he wrote: "But it is a fact that one needs both nature and pictures," stressing the importance of the second element "pictures" by underlining the conjunction and. (3) Yet, in portraiture specific sources have rarely been identified. In this essay I will propose that van Gogh used two pictorial prototypes for his Rotterdam portrait of Armand Roulin (Fig. 1) and that these prototypes fulfilled dif­ferent functions in his creative process. One prototype was a portrait schema, that is, a proportional pattern; the other was a type of image dubbed here a "character likeness." The meaning of this term will become apparent in the ensuing discussion.
Of these two sources, the latter, the portrait likeness, is more complex. In order to explain and understand the specifics of it, several broad topics must be reviewed. These are: van Gogh's attitudes to portraiture in general, his con­nections with certain contemporary art movements, and his own artistic evolution.
The portrait that will be considered portrays Armand Roulin, the eldest son of Joseph Roulin, the postal clerk who had befriended Vincent van Gogh shortly after the latter's arrival in Arles, in February 1888. (4) The painting was executed by the great Dutch artist as part of a series of portraits of the Roulin family, a family that numbered five members: Roulin, his wife, and three children--the infant, Marcelle, born in August, 1888, Camille aged eleven, and the seventeen--year-old Armand. (5) That these portraits were of great importance to van Gogh is evident from his an­nouncement to Theo of their completion. In an undated letter, but presumed to have been written in mid-December, he declares: "I have made portraits of a whole family, that of the postman whose head I had done previously--the man, his wife, the baby, the little boy and the son of sixteen, all characters and very French, though the first has the look of a Russian.” (6)
For the teenager Armand, two paintings have been identified as portraits of him, the earlier one in Essen (Fig. 2) and the somewhat later canvas, the Rotterdam painting (Fig. 1). (7)
Exactly which portraits comprise the series, if indeed there is one series, is uncertain as several versions or variants exist of all members of the family, ranging in format from bust to three--­quarter length, and stylistically, from naturalistic to overtly stylized. One constant, however, is the viewpoint. All the heads are shown in a frontal view, either en face or turned slightly to the oblique, except for the second portrait of Armand which presents him in three-quarter view. This pose reveals a physiognomic trait--a receding chin-that was hidden from sight in the frontal image. As a result, the viewer is confronted by a markedly altered character. Whereas the other members of the family maintain a basic identity despite changes of format or style (for example, Madame Roulin is always nurturing, Joseph Roulin is always amiable yet dignified), Armand appears to possess two entirely different identities, one extroverted, the other introverted.
In the Rotterdam painting, the "introspective portrait," Ar­mand is represented chest-length and oriented in a three­--quarter view. He wears a brimmed hat and a jacket that appears large for his slender frame. Painted in the same deep-blue hue (as is his hair), this color contrasts with the lighter tones of the green ground, his white shirt and ruddy face. Because they are not modeled, forms appear as areas of flat color bounded by a precise contour emphasized by broadly painted lines. Line, too, is used to describe features and facial contours. Relief is rendered by parallel strokes of discrete color that follow the planes of the face. The brushwork in the face and the rich im­pasto touches on the large bow of the shirt contrast with the broad, undifferentiated surfaces of the other areas, thereby drawing attention to the face.
Armand's features are not obviously expressive. Immobile, they do not react to external stimuli nor reveal the dynamics of his inner being. Only his eyes, averted and downcast, manifest a state of mind and temperament. In this respect the Rotterdam painting differs significantly from the portrait in Essen. The Essen painting, which I believe was executed earlier than the Rotterdam canvas, as it has a more impressionistic facture, represents an animated, nervous character. Highlights on lips, nose and eyes, the subtle asymmetry of Armand's shoulders, the 45-degree tilt of his hat, and his side-long glance contribute to an impression of mutability. So, too, do the motile designs of eyes, brows, and nose. In the first painting Armand is a vital, handsome youth interacting with his environment, whereas in the second portrait he is shown in a mood of lugubrious stasis.
This stylistic development is foreshadowed in the paintings produced in the first months in Arles (for example, in the portrait of a young girl, La Mousme), but it was given additional impetus and direction by his contact, both direct and indirect, with the Pont-Aven painters. (8) An exchange of letters and works of art with the originators of synthetism, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, prepared him for his direct encounter with the new style when Gauguin took up residence with van Gogh in Oc­tober 1888. Gauguin's two--month stay gave Vincent the opportunity to view synthetism at first hand. (9) This abstract eclectic style answered the needs of van Gogh at just this moment. It confirmed his desire to take liberties with nature in order to penetrate and expose its profoundest meanings. The simplifications of synthetism--its abstract intentions, its ex­pressive use of color, line, and composition--owed much to diverse sources of eastern and western art. Japanese prints and the minor arts of Japan including metalwork and cloth were the most significant of eastern sources, whereas from western art the synthetists were inspired by medieval decorative arts, especially stained glass (because of the isolation of brilliant hues by line, that is, leading) and the paintings of the so-called "Primitives" of the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance, where seemingly similar concepts of line and color were em­ployed. The Primitives were neither imitated nor studied for historical or archaeological information, as the Nazarenes and Pre-Raphaelites had approached this art in the early and mid--­nineteenth century.(10) Rather it was the formal features of the Primitives and a quality of piety considered to be authentic that appealed to the synthetists. (11)
Particularly influential were German Renaissance portraits, since these embodied formal qualities for which the synthetists were searching. Van Gogh apparently studied just such portraiture during the preparation of the Rotterdam painting as is evident from the painting itself. The baroque, Hals-like type underlying the Essen portrait has been replaced by a more archaic prototype, that is, a "primitive." Among the "primitives" that van Gogh might have considered, Hans Holbein the Younger is the likeliest. (12) Frequently reproduced in prints ac­cessible to van Gogh, indeed, he owned many, the German master's portraits, both drawn and painted, depict sitters in poses comparable to Armand's representation. Also remarkably similar are physiognomic forms. Yet, no Holbein portrait resembles van Gogh's Rotterdam depiction of Armand as closely as does a painting attributed to Hans Holbein the Elder (Fig. 3), in Frankfurt today, but which was in the famous Sigmaringen museum in the later nineteenth century. (13)
Bearing the date 1522, the painting portrays a twenty-two--year-old male member of the Augsburg Weiss family. The correspondences between the paintings are so pronounced that it is unlikely that they are fortuitous. Pose, costume, color, and physiognomy are similar though not identical. The points of closest physiognomic comparison are, to enumerate them briefly: the mouths and the structures of the tips of the noses, the structure of the chin with a central dimple, the contour of the juncture of jaw and cheek, the position and accentuation of the cheekbone, and the contour of the hairline. As for similarities of dress, there is the obvious identity of white shirts with bows tied at the neck. Of equal importance in establishing a case for van Gogh's acquaintance with the German Renaissance painting is the shape and contour of the brim of Armand's hat; it has a sur­prising degree of resembalnce to the brim of the Weiss youth's beret. Although the beret's brim is more complex, rising in the front, dipping along the side and again rising at the back, both brims extend the same distance from the forehead and back of the head, and have the same contour except for the absence, in the portrait of Armand, of the angular projection of the side brim at the back of the hat.
These similarities argue strongly for van Gogh's acquain­tance with and use of the Weiss painting. However, it should be noted that van Gogh could not have known the original as he never visited Sigmaringen, but since the museum's holdings were widely known, it is likely that a reproduction was available to him.
That van Gogh turned to such a model at this moment in his career is certainly due to contact with synthetism. Yet this con­tact in itself does not fully explain his usage. Van Gogh, in this instance, did not transpose a pose, gesture, expression or set­ting, motifs that would expected to be carried from one portrait to another. Rather, physiognomic traits were either paralleled or possibly even transferred. Transferences would seem inappropriate if the purpose of a portrait is to memorialize a specific individual. Appropriating traits seems to deny the par­ticular characteristics of the model, conflating a particular identity with another’s. Why then, one might ask, did van Gogh utilize such a model, literally identifying a Provençal youth of the late nineteenth century with a young German burgher of the early sixteenth century? To answer this question, an examination of his beliefs concerning portraiture and its relationship to physiognomy and character, and his ambitions as a profes­sional portraitist, must be undertaken, as well as the estimation of German Renaissance painting by van Gogh and his contemporaries.
In his letters, van Gogh often expressed admiration for Ger­man Renaissance painters, specifically Hans Holbein the Younger, (14), Albrecht Dürer, (15) and Lucas Cranach. (16) His esteem, founded on historical and artistic grounds, was shared by his contemporaries. Holbein, universally admired, was judged the counterpart of Raphael in the North. This belief was made manifest by the arrangement of the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, opened in 1855. (17) In that museum, the major schools of painting were hung on the first floor. In the right wing, were the Italians, that is, the classicists, while in the left were the realists, the Dutch, Flemish, German, and Spanish painters. At the end of each wing a room was reserved forwhat was considered the representative work of each school, Raphael's Sistine Madonna and Hans Holbein’s the Younger's Meyer Madonna. Charles Blanc, the renowned French art historian, wrote in 1875 about the display of these paintings:
“In the presence of these two masterpieces we can measure, for the sixteenth century, the distance between re­ligious painting as it was conceived by the genius of the catholic south and christian art as it was felt by the north­ern genius that had turned protestant.” (18)
The most admired part of Holbein's oeuvre, his portrait draw­ings, were considered prototypical images. The constituents believed fundamental to art in the nineteenth century--line and tone in the most exquisite balance to create likenesses both in­dividual and lifelike--acquired a special importance in the train­ing of artists. Discovered by Queen Caroline in a bureau drawer and placed on display by her in Kensington Palace, they were greatly admired in the eighteenth century by connoisseurs. George Vertue, for instance, declared that they were the greatest treasure of this kind in England, " that I should esteem next to the cartoons at Hampton Court of Raphael. (19) The drawings entered the public domain when published in col­or facsimile in 1812. (20) Thereafter, their fame was secure. Some measure of their importance can be judged by the fact that a popular manual on drawing, Charles Bargue's Cours de dessin published in two parts, in 1868 and in 1870, included among the sixty--seven reproductions after the Old Masters more than a third by Holbein. (21) Van Gogh, who owned Bargue, copied the plates as many as three times. (22) Already predisposed to Holbein's por­traits which he especially singled out in a letter describing an excursion to Hampton Court in 1876, his admiration became even greater when engaged in copying them. Writing to Theo in 1880, he observed: "Those Holbeins in The Models from the Masters are splendid. Now that I am drawing them, I feel it even more strongly than before. But I assure you, they are not easy." (23)
Among van Gogh's progressive contemporaries who openly expressed approbation in word and art for the German master were Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, Legros, Pissarro, and Seurat. Degas, according to Morisot, said that "the study of nature is of no significance, for painting is a conventional art, and it is in­finitely more worthwhile to learn to draw after Holbein." (24) Degas followed his own advice. He copied Holbein's Anne of Cleves in 1861—1862. (25) This very same painting was the model for Gauguin's La Belle Angèle of 1889, a work purchased two years later by Degas, possibly because of its reference to Holbein's painting. (26) Gauguin's admiration for Holbein endured until the end of his life. A 1901 photograph taken in Atuana shows a reproduction of Holbein's painting of his wife and two children tacked on the studio wall beside pictures by Puvis and Degas. (27) Legros and Seurat both copied Holbein portraits. Legros painted a memory copy of Erasmus Writing and even portrayed his father in a fashion patently based on the Erasmus.(28) Seurat's copies are after Holbein's portrait drawings. Possibly his models derived from the same drawing book that van Gogh employed, Bargue's Cours de dessin. (29) Pissarro's regard for Holbein was voiced in 1883 when he called him "the real master." Fifteen years later, in 1898, he designed a color lithograph cover for a political pamphlet. The design was based on the famous illustration Death and the Laborer from Holbein's woodcut series The Dance of Death. (30) And as late as 1906, Cezanne could wax enthusiastic about Holbein, exclaiming, "But one cannot equal Holbein." (31)
As for the other German Renaissance painters mentioned by van Gogh, Dürer and Cranach, they too were admired, but their artistic importance as models to be emulated was never secured in France. Dürer, though praised, was not ranked as a supreme master. (32) Cranach, in fact, was granted artistic and historical primacy. (33) Credited with having broken with medieval shop methods and working pragmatically, he was reckoned as the first Protestant painter because of his intimate friendships with Luther and Melanchthon. (34) As Protestantism was associated with realism and the emergence of secular subjects, Cranach was viewed as the virtual inventor of naturalism; from him sprang a continuous tradition of realism that flourished in the Dutch Republic of the seventeenth century and later burgeoned in France in the nineteenth century.
Cranach's portraits in particular impressed van Gogh's contemporaries. They admired their formal qualities and granted them a special historical importance. Viardot, a leading critic of the 1860s, defined the latter, writing: "The naturalism of protestant painting is recognizable in these simple portraits that replaced the forms consecrated by the catholic faith." (35) Degas seems to have had the formal and historical features of these works in mind when, in his portrait of the painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot (Fig. 4), dated 1868, he included among the art works surrounding the sitter a copy of a portrait of Frederick the Wise by Cranach. (36) The painting's centrality, its ornately carved, gilded frame and its subject, a mature, bearded man, indicate the primacy of this image among the others; it functions symbolically and literally as a father figure, Tissot’s  ancestor of Tissot, and by extension, Degas, too.
Degas was not the only "modern" painter to seriously examine Cranach. Gauguin's and Bernard's self-portraits bear witness to their study of Cranach's portraiture. The German master's simplification of form, his use of expressive linear contours, spatial compression, a uniformly colored ground, lighter and brighter than the figure, and the placement of the figures to the side of the picture area are paralleled in the self­portraits (Figs. 5 and 6). (37)
On the basis of the evidence cited we may conclude that van Gogh was certainly not unique insofar as his interest in the German Primitives is concerned. His contemporaries shared the same enthusiasms and concerns. But, though studying Holbein intensely from the onset of his career as an artist, van Gogh did not actually "practice" primitive-inspired portraiture until his stay in Provence, and even more specifically, until his contact with Gauguin and Bernard intensified. (38) It was then, apparently, that van Gogh considered the artistic options presented by the works of the Primitives more searchingly for his own work. Their impact can be seen in portraits painted at about the same time as the Boymans' canvas, for example, the bust portraits of Armand's father Joseph, specifically the painting that depicts him before a green ground decorated with geometrically ordered bouquets of flowers (Fig. 7). The design of this portrait, especially its frontality, spatial con­striction, absence of shadows, and a quality that can be characterized as iconic, is reminiscent of sacred portraiture of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries. Furthermore, the background itself brings to mind stylized floral motifs found in fifteenth-century paintings, as in the Louvre Woman with Pansies (Fig. 8), which incidentally was given to the museum by Ingres, (39) and Bellini's Fra Teodoro da Urbino as St. Dominic (Fig. 9), in the National Gallery, which, was un­doubtedly known to van Gogh as was the former. (40)
Van Gogh's serious study and use of the Primitives is thus well documented for the period during which he painted the second portrait of Armand Roulin. What remains to be ex­plained is why van Gogh insisted on establishing such a close parallel between the primitive prototype and the model he was painting. As noted earlier, explication of this issue involves setting forth van Gogh's broad views on portraiture and, ad­ditionally, his conception of himself as portraitist.
Let us briefly review the latter issue. Throughout his career, van Gogh toyed with the idea of becoming a professional por­trait painter in order to support himself. (41) He was certain that an eager clientele existed not only among the middle class and the wealthy but also in the working class. (42) But he also recognized that photography was a strong competitor for a painter in this area. To be daguerreotyped was commonplace. Inexpensive, ex­act, and requiring only a brief sitting, photography had virtually destroyed the livelihood of miniaturists who had sustained themselves by painting portraits. (43) Although van Gogh con­templated working in a photographer's shop, retouching or painting over photographed portraits, he felt a profound an­tipathy to photography. Rather than individuals, van Gogh com­plained, cameras produced uniform likenesses. Features did not appear idiosyncratic, and the general effect was cold and wax­en. (44) Despite van Gogh's oft-repeated wish to support himself as a portrait painter, he never carried out his plan. His personali­ty and his painting style militated against such a source of in­come. His manner was so unconventional that only the naive or the initiated could appreciate his work. Bitterly, he complained that potential sitters, accustomed to academic norms, were fearful of being compromised and mocked by their friends if they patronized him. (45)
Stylistically, van Gogh's portraiture can be divided into three phases corresponding to the principal locations of his activity: the Netherlands, Paris, and Provence-Auvers. In the Neth­erlands, the portraits were scientifically objective, phy­siognomic studies of peasants. (46) That his interest was physi­ognomic is evident from the description of the type of model he sought: "I want rough, flat faces with low foreheads and thick lips, not sharp but full and Millet-like." (47) The purpose of these portraits was two-fold. At this early stage van Gogh was still a novice. These portraits gave him the opportunity to learn how to achieve an accurate portrayal. Secondly, the portraits were preparatory studies for the paintings of peasant life he was planning to execute. In Paris, his format underwent a decisive change as did his intentions. Influenced by the ideas articulated by Edmond Duranty in La Nouvelle Peinture, van Gogh depicted his subjects full-length in characteristic poses and within con­temporary settings. (48) A third type of portrait developed in Pro­vence. Van Gogh now sought to present universal types in par­ticular yet characteristic instances. (49)
What van Gogh meant by universal types and characteristic instances is often explained in his letters. In 1883, for example, after rereading Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, van Gogh wrote to his brother that Hugo's characters were "true" because they were "the essence of what one sees in reality." Then he ob­served, "It is the type-of which one only meets individuals. (50) To realize the objective of conjoining the universal and the particular he sought models diverse in age, sex, physiognomy, and occupation. He located his sitters against colorful, oc­casionally patterned backgrounds to indicate neither a specific place or a spatial ambience. They did relate, however, to the expressive aim of the portrait. Color during this phase was not simply descriptive; it acquired an independent expressive value. (51)  A striking quality of these portraits is van Gogh's insistence on depicting his model in occupational at­tire. Never does he dress his sitter in an anonymous, "Sunday­best" suit. Clothes, as well as physiognomy, were, he recognized, identifying traits of an individual. (52)
Although van Gogh's portraits underwent significant changes formally and conceptually in these three phases, one concept was crucial to all: character and its representation. Character was to the nineteenth century what personality is to the twentieth. Character is "the sum of the moral and mental qualities which distinguish an individual.” (53) Character, unlike personality, is judgmental. By the nineteenth century, the concept of character was ubiquitous in the social sciences, arts, and popular culture. To cite but one representative in­stance from literature; William Hazlitt, the English author, neatly stated how character is recognized in an 1822 essay entitled "On the Knowledge of Character”:
There are various ways of getting at a knowledge of character--by looks, words, action. The first of these is perhaps the safest and least liable to deceive A man's look is the work of years, it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more by the hand of nature and it is not got rid of easily. (54)
It was precisely such a look that van Gogh wished to capture in his portraits. The notion that a face was the key to one's character was an idea that had gained wide currency in the nineteenth century, especially from the writings of Johan Caspar Lavater (1741-1801) and Franz Gall (1758-1828) who aimed at making this venerable "science" modern and truly scientific. (55) According to Lavater, physiognomy "teaches us to recognize the connection between the exterior and interior ... of the animated and perceptible matter with the non-visible principle which imparts on it its living character." (56) Franz Gall further clarified the relationship between character and its physiognomic expression in his science of physiognomy, known as phrenology. (57) Unlike Lavater, Gall proposed a physiological theory to account for character. According to him, the brain, the mind's seat, was subdivided into regions or organs having specialized functions, each governing a faculty that in turn determined behavior and hence character. Development of these organs varied from individual to in­dividual, some being more prominent, hence better developed, and others less so, indicating a more primitive state of development. The organs could be recognized externally by the surface "terrain," as one might call it, of the skull. (58)
Van Gogh's familiarity with the work of Lavater and Gall could be assumed even without evidence, but in an early letter he in fact makes specific reference to them. Writing to Theo from Brussels on November 1,1880, he notes that he has read an ex­cerpt from a book entitled Physiology and Phrenology by Lavater and Gall in which is discussed "how character is ex­pressed in the features and in the shape of the skull. Although he did not refer to this book again, the ideas presented in it certainly had a residual effect and were most likely reinforced by art, literature, and popular culture. An in­stance of the impact of physiognomic-phrenological theories can be found in a letter to Theo written in November 1880:
“When I consider our temperament and type of phy­siognomy, I find similarity and a very pronounced resemblance between, for instance, the Puritans and ourselves besides. I mean the people in Cromwell's time or thereabouts ... If I mention the Pilgrim Fathers, it is because of the physiognomy, to show you that certain reddish-haired people with square foreheads are neither only thinkers nor only men of action, but usually combine both elements. In one of Boughton's pictures I know a lit­tle figure of one of those Puritans for which I should think you has posed if I didn't know better. It is exactly, exactly the same physiognomy ... I can show you myself also, that is to say, that variation of the same physiognomy, but my profile is less characteristic.” (60)
The passage cited is of utmost importance for the thesis presented here as it proves van Gogh's familiarity with current theories of character and physiognomy and demonstrates how he applied these theories in a specific instance. One of his most important concerns as a portraitist was the discovery and notation of physiognomic similarities among individuals. Repeatedly in his letters van Gogh remarks on such resem­blances. Sometimes he sought out a particular model because the person reminded him of someone he knew: a Provençal peasant who resembled his father; a man in Antwerp who called to mind Victor Hugo. (61) Other times a person evoked memories of characters in pictorial, historical, or literary works. An example of the first type, a pictorial association, is found in his portrait of a fair-skinned, light-haired woman painted in Ant­werp. He wrote, "I am now looking for a blond model just because of Rubens." (62) As for historical connections, Eugene Bock, the Belgian painter, was identified with sixteenth-century types: "This Bock has a head rather like a Flemish gentleman of the time of the Compromise of the Nobles. William the Silent's time and Marnix's.” (63) Literature inspired his beautiful portrait of a young Arlesienne girl entitled La Mousmé, the Japanese word for "girl" which he had learned from Pierre Loti's novel Madame Chrysanthème. (64) Occasionally, more than one association was made. Van Gogh discovered in the chief attendant at St. Remy a physiognomy and character akin to the statesman François Guizot as well as to the man in Alphonse Legros' etching The Spanish Grandee. He wrote:
Yesterday I began the portrait of the head attendant ... A very interesting face, there is a fine etching by Legros, representing an old Spanish grandee ... that will give you an idea of the type ... and there is a sort of contemplative calm in his face, so that I can't help being reminded of Guizot's face-for there is something of that in this head, but different. (65)
Recognition of just such physiognomic resemblances must be considered van Gogh's motive for conflating the physi­ognomies of the Weiss youth and Armand Roulin. But he seems to have shown less interest in the specifics of their characters than in the person as representative of the human condition. Though he wanted to paint a "modern" portrait about which he wrote, "What impassions me most--much, much more than all the rest of my metier--is the portrait, the modern portrait. I seek it in color . . . which is the means to arrive at the expression and intensification of character," (66) he sought qualities that transcended particular eras:  “people whom history tells us about, doges of Venice, Crusaders, apostles, holy women, were of the same character and lived in a manner analogous to that of their present descendants." (67) Crucial to this intention was a belief in nature's regenerative capacity and repetitive order. The life cycle--youth, maturity, old age--recurs in all hisotrical periods, insuring the universality of significant ex­periences. As early as 1876 van Gogh had expressed this idea in a sermon, the only one preserved from his evangelical period:
“From infancy we grow up to boys and girls-young men and women-and if God spares us and helps us, to husbands and wives, Fathers and Mothers in our turn, and then slowly but surely the face that once had the early dew of morning, gets its wrinkles, the eyes that once beamed with youth and gladness speak of a sincere deep and earnest sadness.” (68)
Thus, not only did Weiss and Roulin agree physiognomically and, hence, also presumably in character, but they were also maturational equals confronting comparable situations in the cycle of life. Van Gogh was to draw the same kind of parallel in 1890 when painting Mademoiselle Ravoux. As pointed out by Cheltham, the girl's profile seems to be dependent upon Holbein's portrait drawing of Anna Meyer, the young girl who appears in the Meyer Madonna and who was about the same age as the sixteen-year-old Ravoux girl. Van Gogh knew the portrait drawing well, having copied it at least twice from the reproduc­tion in Bargue's Cours de dessin. (69)
If the Weiss portrait was van Gogh's inspirational "character likeness," what then was his second source, the portrait schema? The latter seems to have been discovered in his well­thumbed, thrice-copied Cours de dessin by Charles Bargue. The schema (a proportional pattern) was found in the first section of the Cours: Modeles d'apres Ie bosse. The plates in this part have two figures, one depicting a plaster cast in relief, the other, a line drawing of it without tone. Relationships of forms are plotted by a few critical horizontals and by a vertical axis. Many of the models or patterns reproduce famous portrait busts. The schema in Bargue provided a generalized scaffolding upon which van Gogh could apply details appropriate to his model. For designing his portrait of Armand Roulin, he used the schematic figure from Plate 43 representing Faustina (Fig. 10),  As this was the only three-quarter scheme appropriate to his desired pose in Bargue. The fact that the model was female did not effect its usage. It was, after all, the blueprint he employed, not the likeness. He treated it as he had treated the Weiss portrait: he reversed the orientation of the figure.
In addition to the facial or portrait schema, Bargue was also the source for the schemata of the nose, mouth, and chin. In plate 1 (Fig. 11) profiles and three-quarter views of the lower half of the face are drawn. It can clearly be seen that the first and second schemata in row three, when reversed, provided the structure for this region of van Gogh's portrait. Amendments to it were made as a consequence of direct observation from the features of the Roulin youth.
The source van Gogh drew upon when designing the second portrait of Armand Roulin reveal two different concerns. Bargue's figures helped van Gogh to structure the forms he was studying; they provided the schema that most artists learned in an academic setting. Van Gogh, unable to function effectively in such surroundings, used instead a "textbook" by a recognized academic authority. The artist, who relied on his own sensibilities, nevertheless required tools, the basic forms of art, to realize his vision. Bargue supplied precisely these forms. The other source van Gogh employed was the Weiss portrait, which did not supply a schema. It did, however, thrust upon van Gogh's consciousness the fact of physiognomic similarity between persons of different times and place and hence the existence of a "character likeness." Van Gogh, ever alert to discover continuity in mankind, was probably inspired by the very appearance of the sitter in the older painting to portray the young Roulin so that their resemblances, physical and moral, would be unequivocably evident.

Versions of this essay were presented at the graduate student lecture series of Columbia University's Department of Art History and Archaeology and at the 1981 Open Session of the College Art Association Meetings, held in San Francisco. My thanks to Jack Flam, Paul Gianfagna, and Leo Steinberg who kindly read this study and offered much helpful criticism. Needless to say, the views expressed in this study do not necessarily correspond to those of the readers.

1. See Foreword and Introduction by J.K.T. Varnedoe in Modern Portraits, The Self and Others, New York, 1976.
2. For the roles of schema and source in the creative process, see E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, 2nd ed. rev., New York, 1961, and L. Steinberg, "The Glorious Company," in Art Aboul Art, J. Lipman and A. Marshall, New York, 1978, pp. 8-31. For sources and copies from Western art In van Gogh's oeuvre, see especially: Van Gogh's Sources of Inspiration; 100 Prints From His Personal Coffection, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1971; Les sources d'inspiration de Vincenl van GOflh: Gravures, estampes, tivres, fettres, documents du peintre, Institut Neerlandals, Paris, 1972; H. Jafte, "Van Gogh en de Nederlandse schilderkunst der zeventiende eeuw," Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, XXIII, 1972, pp. 363-71; A. Pickvance, English Influences on Vincent van Gogh, University Art Gallery, Nottingham, 1974; C. Nordenfalk, "On Van Gogh's Copies," reprinted from Vincent van Gogh: Imago Imaginis in Van Gogh in Perspective, ed. B. Welsh·Ovcharov, Englewood Clifts, 1974, pp. 156-158; C. Cheltham, The Role of Vincent van Gogh's Copies in the Development of His Art, New York/London, 1976.
3. The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh, 2nd ed., New York, 1978, II, p. 386, Letter no. 410. Hereafter  cited as Letters.
4. For van Gogh's Provence period, see M. Roskill, Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Impressionist Circle, Greenwich, Conn., 1970; J. Rewald, Post·lmpressionism, From van Gogh to Gauguin, 3rd ed., rev., New York, 1978.
5. J.N. Priou, "Van Gogh et la famille Roulin," Revue des PTT de France, 1955, pp. 26-32,
6. Letter no. 560 (III, pp. 101·02). This letter contains the only reference to a portrait of the teenage Roulin. Unfortunately, van Gogh did not give specific details. Although canvas size was stated, 15, this piece of information does not distinguish between the Essen and Rotterdam paintings as their measurements are almost identical, respectively 66 x 55 cm. and 65 x 54 cm. (measurements quoted from de la Faille).
7. I believe that on the basis of style it is possible to determine the sequence of the Essen and Rotterdam paintings, the Essen portrait being painted first, the Rotterdam canvas, second. M. Schapiro, Vincent van Gogh, New York, 1950, pp. 82, 84, proposed the reverse order, but did not explicitly state his reasons. Rosklll, Van Gogh, p. 153, though dating them both in December, believed that the Rot­terdam painting was the second. He characterized it as more "finished" and believed that it manifested a sad, philosophic air that made it more akin to Joseph Roulin's nature. Since van Gogh aimed at a certain unification in the lamily por­traits, according to Roskill, the Rotterdam canvas was better suited to the program. Although I agree with Roskill's sequence, I do believe that more time elapsed between the execution of the portraits than he posited. The Essen painting em­ploys an Impressionistic facture, broken contours to define forms and highlights in eyes and on the face. These are typical mannerisms of van Gogh's early Arles period. Impressionism still strongly aftected his painting, and he followed nature more exactly. La Mousmé, The Zouave, and Postman Roulin (Boston) display these characteristics. Continuous contours drawn with a firm line, coloristic unity and simplicity, and the absence of shimmering highlights, relate the Boymans' portrait with others executed In the fall of 1888, such as Madame Ginoux.
8. For this change, see Roskill, van Gogh, pp. 98ff; Rewald, Post­ Impressionism, pp. 219ff.
9. For synthetism, see H.R. Rookmaker, Synthetist Art Theories, Amsterdam, 1959; W. Jaworska, Gauguin and the Ponl·Aven Schoof, trans. P. Evans, Greenwich, Conn., 1972, pp. 227ff. 
10. For the extraction of archaeological information from the Primitives, see A. Strong, Recreating the Past. British Hislory and Ihe Victorian Painter, New York, 1978. For a discussion of the appreciation and collecting of the Primitives in the nineteenth century, see F. Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art, Some Aspects of Taste, Fashion and Collecting in England and France, 2nd ed. rev., Ithaca, New York, 1979, passim.
11. Among the synthetists, Emile Bernard was most alert to the pietistic aspect of the Primitives. Van Gogh protested when Bernard went beyond admiration to weak imitation. See, for example, a letter written in early December 1889: Letters, B21 [21] (III, pp. 521-25).
12. A contemporary Dutch critic, Johan de Meester, recognized that Holbein's art played an important part in shaping van Gogh's work: "one can readily see in his work admiration for the sentiment of Holbein . . . several heads of girls and children possess the pure tautness of a Holbein portrait." Quoted from "The Man Transcends the Artist" by Johan de Meester, trans. and ed. by B. Welsh--Ovcharov in Van Gogh in Perspective, pp. 61-62. De Meester wrote the essay in 1891.
13. Frankfurt am Main, Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, inv. or. SG 457; 41.6 x 35.3 cm. Identification of family name established by coat of arms on ring. Inscriptions on the sword: XXII jar was ich alt; WAS LIEBT DAS FREIT. 1515; on dragon pendant: NOTH LEIT ER NIT. The painting was in the Weyer (Weiher) collection, Cologne, no, 37. A. Sichel, a correspondent for the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, wrote a brief ac­count of the Weyer collection to draw attention to its Impending auction: "Correspondance de Cologne," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, XIII, 1862, pp. 83·86. Weyer, honorary architect of Cologne, assembled the collection over a thirty--year period. "Le but principal des ses recherches etait de reconstituer la suite hls­torique des maitres de I'ecole de Cologne . . . Quelle bonne fortune pour Ie musée qui voudralt acquerlr en bloc cette réunion sl penlblement laite de maîtres primitifs devenus aujourdhui introuvables!"
Auctioned on August 25, 1862, the collection was purchased by Karl von Hohenzollern. This prince had acquired a taste for the Primitives under the tutelage of Carl Gustav Waagen, while studying in Berlin, in 1831. His continuing interest in art inspired him to establish a museum in Sigmaringen, which opened in 1867. The contents of the museum were described in German and French periodicals and in catalogues and guides published by the museum. The first catalogue of paintings was published by the director F.A. von Lehner, Verzeichniss der Gemälde, Sigmaringen, 1871. In the second edition, 1883, the Weiss portrait was attributed to Dürer's school. For later literature, see F. Rieftel, "Das Furstlich Hohenzollernsche Museum zu Sigmaringen," Staede/·Jahrbuch, III· IV, 1924, p. 70; Kurzes Verzeichnis der im Staedelschen Kunstinstitut ausgestellten Sigmaringer Sammlungen, 1928, cat. 1 and 2; G. Swarzenski, "Der Verkauf der Sigmaringer Sammlung," Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, LIII, 1928--1929, p. 274; L. Baldass, "Studien zur Augsburger Portrait--Malerei des 16 Jahrhundert von Leonhard Beck," Pantheon, IV, 1930, pp. 395f; O. Benesch, "Zu den beiden Hans Holbein," Zeitschrilt für Kunstgeschichte, 10,1941-1942, p. 22; A. Stange, Deutsche Malerei der Gotik, Berlin, 1957, VIII, p. 76; Malerfamilie Holbein in Basel, Basel, 1960, pp. 80--81.
14. Van Gogh initially mentioned Holbein the Younger in letters posted to Theo from Isleworth, England. The first, dated July 5, 1876, no. 70 (I, p. 62) describes an ex­cursion to Hampton Court. Of the paintings that he saw there, the first ones cited are Holbeins: " there are many portraits by Holbein which are very beautiful. " In a subsequent letter, no. 78 (I, p. 82), van Gogh reports that he is helping to prepare for a lecture on the Reformation to be given by a clergyman. He states that it will be illustrated " by a magic lantern with slides of that period. I have already seen some of the pictures, they are in the style of Holbein--you know that many of the painters and graphic artists here work in that style. There was a very beautiful picture of Luther’s marriage." Once having decided upon the career of a painter, van Gogh, to train himself, copied Holbein portraits. See, for example, letters no. 138 and 147. In letter 138 of November 1,1880 (I, pp. 210-11) he wrote to Theo: "Those Holbeins in The Models from The Masters are splendid, Now that I am drawing them, I feel it even more strongly than before. But I assure you, they are not easy." Three of the copies after Holbein are extant. See Cheltham, van Gogh's Copies, pp. 258, 262.
15. Van Gogh's earliest mention of Albrecht Dürer occurs in letter no. 67, written from Ramsgate, England on May 31, 1876 (I, pp, 57--59). In it, he compares a local view of a town to " the towns that Albrecht Dürer used to etch." Two years later he dispatched a letter from Amsterdam, no. 118 (I, pp, 160-61) in which he an­ticipates a meeting with Theo: "When you come back here I should like to look through the etchings by Dürer at the museum with you, the way we did Rem­brandt's last time." Dürer's perspective frame was critical for van Gogh's knowledge and use of perspective: " I have spent more on making an in­strument for studying proportion and perspective, the description of which can be found in a book by Albrecht Dürer, and which the old Dutch masters also used." Letters, no. 205 (I, p. 383). 
16. Cranach was only mentioned twice by van Gogh in correspondence, Writing to Bernard at the end of June, 1888, B8 [11] (III, pp. 495--98), he calls him a "naturalist"; later, in the same letter, he associates Cranach with Dürer, Holbein, and Luther in a query: "Did you ever read a life of Luther? For Cranach, Dürer and Holbein belong to him. He--his personality---is the high light of the Middle Ages."
17. V. Plagemann, Das deutsche Kunstmuseum 1790-1870, Munich, 1967, pp. 131--­44.
18. C. Blanc, Histoire des peintres de toutes les ecofes, I, Ecole allemande, Paris, 1875, p. 12.
19. Note Books, Walpole Society, 20, 1932. P. Noon's essay in English Portrait Drawings and Miniatures, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1979, p. xii, alerted me to this passage.
20. John Chamberlaine, in Portraits of Illustrious Personages of the Court of Henry VIII. Engraved in Imitation of the Original Drawings of Hans Holbein in the Collection of His Majesty by E. Lodge, London, 1812.
21. Charles Bargue (1825?-1883), Gérôme's pupil, never exhibited in the Salon but he did show graphic work at the International Exhibition of 1867, for which he received a medal. See "Charles Bargue," by G. Geffroy in U. Thieme and F. Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, Leipzig, 1935, II, p. 496. Bargue published two instructional volumes: Cours de dessin par C.B. avec le concours de J.L. Gérôme, Paris, 1868-1870. Atlas I. Modèles d'après le bosse, 70 Iithogr., Atlas II. Modèles d'après les Maitres de toutes l'epoques et de toutes les écoles, 57 lithogr.: Exercices au fusain pour préparer a l’étude de l’Académie d'après nature, Paris, 1871. Both of these works were used by van Gogh, For the influence of Exercices au fusain, see A.S. Wylie, "An In­vestigation of the Vocabulary of Line In Vincent van Gogh's Expression of Space," Oud Holland, LXXXV, 1970, pp. 210ff. For the influence of both volumes, see Cheltham, van Gogh's Copies, passim.
22. Van Gogh first mentions copying Bargue's plates In a letter dated September 7, 1880 from Cuesmes, no. 136 (I, p. 203): "I cannot tell you the pleasure Mr. Tersteeg gave me by letting me have the Exercices au Fusain and the Cours de Dessin Bargue for a while. I worked almost a whole fortnight on the former, from early morning until night and daily I seem to feel that it invigorates my pencil." A few weeks later, September 24, 1880, no. 136 (I, p. 204), he wrote: "I work regularly on the Cours de Dessin Bargue, and intend to finish it before I undertake anything else, for each day it makes my hand as well as my mind more supple and strong."
23. Letters, no. 138 (I, pp. 210-11), November 1,1880.
24. Quoted from J. Rewald, History of Impressionism, 4th ed., rev., Greenwich, Conn., p. 177, fn. 50.
25. See T. Reff, "New Light on Degas's Copies," Burlington Magazine, CVI, 1964, pp. 250--59.
26, See the exhibition catalogue Gauguin and the Pont·Aven Group, D. Sutton and R. Pickvance, Tate Gallery, London, 1966, pp. 22--23. Theo described this painting to Vincent, Letters, T16 (III, pp. 550--52), but did not remark on its prototype, Holbein's painting.
27. R. Goldwater, Paul Gauguin, New York [n.d.], p. 40.
28. For the Portrait of the Artist's Father, see the exhibition catalog Alphonse Legros, Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1957, p. 8; for the memory painting of Erasmus writing, see illustration in National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculplure. Illustrations, Washington, D.C., 1968, 64, 1472.
29. For Seurat's copies after Holbein portraits, see C.M, de Hauke, Seurat et son oeuvre, Paris, 1961, I, pp. 22-23, nos. 283, 284.
30. See C. Lloyd, "Camille Pissarro and Hans Holbein the Younger," Burlington Magazine, 117, 1975, pp. 722--26.
31, Quoted from J. Rewald, Paul Cezanne, trans. M.H. Liebman, London [n.d.], p. 169. 
32. Demmln in Blanc's Histoire, I, p. 2, wrote comparatively od Dürer and Cranach: "Cranach, qui est un peu inférieur a son maître comme dessinateur, mais qui I'a grandement dépassé par Ie coloris et I'intelligence artistique. "
33. In Blanc's Histoire, I, "Cranach," Demmin thrusts Cranach into a pivotal position: "D’une nature forte eloignée du fantastique, Cranach représente Ie pelntre-graveur-colorlste par excellence, I'artiste rompu au travail technique et Ie maître enseignant par la pratique journalière."
34. This view is voiced in l. Viardot, Les Musées d'Allemagne, 3rd ed., Paris, 1860, pp. 180, 322.
35. Vlardot, Musées, p. 180.
36. For the Portrait of James Jacques Joseph Tissot, see C. Sterling and M. Salinger, French Paintings. A Calalogue 0f the Coffection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, XIX·XX Centuries, III, Greenwich, Conn., 1967, pp. 62--64; J. Boggs, Portraits by Degas, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1962, p. 32; T. Reff, Degas: The Artist's Mind, [NewYork], 1976, pp.101--10.
37. Gauguin not only considered Cranach's paintings and oriental imagery as stylistic sources, but Italian Primitives as well. The very structure of Gauguin's brows and nose is found in Byzantine and Italo-Byzantine images of Christ and the saints of the thirteenth century. As Gauguin identified himself with Jean Valjean, the Christ--like hero of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, this source would be particularly apt. For Gauguin's description of this painting where he compares the portrayal of his features to flowers in Persian rugs, see Lettres de Gauguin à sa femme et à ses amis, ed. M. Malingue, 2nd. ed., rev., Paris, 1946, pp. 140f. Gauguin's profile portrait of Emile Bernard in his self·portralt also manifests an interest in Italian art of the fourteenth century. Bernard, drawn In brownish-red on a green ground, calls to mind sinopia drawings and preparatory stages In Trecento panel paintings, The very choice of profile rather than a frontal or three-quarter view makes Gauguin's prlmitivizing intention clear.
38. See Vincent van Gogh and the Birth of Cloisonism. An Overview, B. Welsh· Ovcharov, Art Gallery 0f Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 1981, passim.
39. See C. Sterling and H. Adhemar, Musées National du Louvre. Peintures. Ecole française XIV, XV, XVI siecles, Paris, 1965, pp. 21·22.
40. In 1865, St. Dominic was purchased by the South Kensington Museum (Victoria and Albert). See M. Davies, National Gallery Catalogues. The Earlier Italian Schools, 2nd ed., rev., 1961, pp. 61--67.
41. For example, Letters, no. 433 (II, p. 435), no. 434 (II, p. 439), no. 437 (II, p. 453), no. 438 (II, p. 455), no. 514 (II, p. 622), no. 638 (III, p. 278).
42. Letters, no. 433 (II, p. 436).
43. Letters, no. 441 (II, p. 461).
44. See A. Scharff, Art and Photography, rev. ed., Baltimore, 1974, pp. 42--47.
45. Letters, no. 439 (II, pp. 458--59).
46. Letters, no. 524 (III, p. 15).
47. Letters, no. 372 (II, pp. 298-99). Some characteristic examples of this type are F70, F70a, F85, F163,
48. E. Duranty, La Nouvelle peinture: A propos du groupe d'artistes qui expose dans les Galeries Durand Ruel (1876), ed. M. Guerin, Paris, 1946, pp, 45f. For example, F369 Woman with Cradle, F370 Woman Sitting in the Cafe Tambourin.
49. Van Gogh gives an example of his new intentions by describing a portrait that he would like to paint; Letters, no. 520 (III, p. 6).
50. An example of this concept applied to van Gogh's work is found in a description of a village clergyman in a painting of a peasant's funeral that van Gogh was planning. As a model for this figure, he wanted his father to pose: " the figure essentially simplified with intentional neglect of those details which do not belong to the real character, and are only accidental. For it must not be a portrait of Father, but rather the type of a poor village clergyman." Letters, no. 299 (II, p. 77). .
51. Letters, no. 520 (II, p. 6): "instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I have before my eyes, I use color more arbitrarily, in order to express myself forcibly." 52. Prior to the seventeenth century, attire had been an identifying attribute, but by the latter part of the century, classical art theory questioned the validity of painting portraits with the sitter dressed In contemporary fashion. See Roger de Piles' discussion of the pros and cons of each position in his treatise Le Cours de Peinlure par principes, in Abregé de la vie des peintres avec des refléxions sur les ouvrages, et un traité du peintre parfait; De la Connoisance des desseins, de I'utilité des Estampes. 2nd ed. revue et corrigée par I'auteur avec un abregé de sa vie et plusieurs autres additions, Paris, 1715, II, pp. 221f. Though many portraitists did not follow the academically approved use of classical drapery, they never­theless dressed the sitter in fashionable, rather than professional attire. Diderot In his Essays on Painting was critical of this approach signaling a definitive change in portraiture. Diderot relates an anecdote about a young man who was asked by his family how he wanted to have his father, a smith (“ouvrier en fer”) portrayed. He suggested that he be painted in " son habit de travail, son bonnet de forge, son tabller." When the portrait was completed, the son was shown the painting. His suggestions had not been followed. His father was painted "avec une belle perrugue, un bel habit de beaux bas." The youth complained: "Vous n'avez rien fait qui vaille, ni vous, ni Ie peintre; je vous avals demandé mon père de tous les jours, et vous m'avez envoyé que mon père de dimanches." Essais sur la peinture. De la maniere. Pensées detachées sur la peinture, la sculpture, l'architecture, et la poésie. Tableau de nuit de Skalken (ed. R. Desne, Paris, 1955, p. 61).
53. The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, I, p. 280.
54. W. Hazlitt, Selected Essays of William Hazlitt, ed. G. Keynes, New York/London, 1930, pp. 140--141. See, too, Hazlitt's essay of 1821, "On Personal Character," in which he also discusses physiognomy, character, and the inheritance of character.
55. See the preface by Chastel and Klein in Pomponius Guaricus, De Sculptura, ed. A. Chastel and R. Klein, Geneva, 1969, for a discussion of physiognomical literature.
56. J. C. Lavater, L 'Art de Connaitre les Hommes par sa Physionomie, ed. Moreau de la Sarthe, Paris, 1820, p. 233: "La physiognomle serait la science qui enseigne a connaître Ie rapport de I'extérieur avec I'intérieur, de la surface visibles avec ce qu'elle embrasse d'invisible, de la matière animée et perceptible avec Ie principle non perceptible qui lui imprime Ie caractere de vie de I'effet manifeste avec la force cachee qui Ie prodult." For Lavater, see the article in Nouvelle Biographie Generale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu'à nos jours, Paris, 1859, pp. 995­1005.
57. For an excellent reassessment of Gall, see R. Young's biographical essay in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York, 1972, V, pp. 250-56.
58. For some examples of the impact of the ideas of Lavater and Gall, see H. Witemeyer, George Eliot and the Visual Arts, New Haven, 1979, Chapter V, "Por­traiture and the Knowledge of Character."
59, Letters, no. 138 (I, p. 211). The book van Gogh relerred to probably is Alexandre Ysabeau's Lavater et Gall, Physiognomie et phrénologie rendues intelligibles pour tout Ie monde, Paris, 1862. This is the only French publication of the period whose title Is similar to the one cited by van Gogh. See O. Lorenz, Catalogue Général de la Librairie Française depuis 1840, Paris, 1924. VIII, P. 202.
60. Letters, no. 338 (II, pp. 194--95). Exactly which one of George Henry Boughton's works van Gogh was referring to is uncertain, as Boughton painted numerous canvases and drew many illustrations for novels and stories describing the early life of the Pilgrims. The most famous of his canvases, depicting early American life, Early Puritans of New England Going to Worship Armed to Prolect Themselves from Indians and Wild Beasts, was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1867. Today It hangs in the New York Historical Society, on loan from the New York Public Library.
61. "I wanted to paint a poor old peasant, whose features bear a strong resemblance to Father, only he is coarser, bordering on caricature." Letters, no. 519 (III, p. 3). "I have succeeded in finding a model. I have made two fairly big heads, by way of trial for a portrait. First, that old man whom I wrote you about, a kind of head like Hugo's. " Letters, no. 439 (II, p. 456).
62. Letters, no. 439 (II, p. 456).
63. Letters, no. 506 (II, p. 604).
64. Letters, no. 514 (II, p. 620).
65. Letters, no. 604 (III, p. 203). For the etching by Alphonse Legros, see A Catalogue of the Etchings, Drypoints and Lithographs by Alphonse Legros in the Collection of Frank E. Bliss, preface by C. Dodgson, London, 1923, no. 28. A photograph of Guizot by Nadar was in an exhibition reviewed in 1859 in the Gazetle des Beaux-Arts. See B. Newhall, The History of Photography, rev. 4th ed., New York, 1978, p, 51, illustrated on page 56.
66. Letters, no. W22 (III, p. 470).
67. Letters, no. 605 (III, p. 211).
68. Letters, I, p. 88. One senses In his exuberant exclamation about the Roulin--family portrait series a similar sentiment: "But I have made portraits of a whole family . . . . You know how I feel about this, how I feel in my element, and that it consoles me up to a certain point for not being a doctor." Letters, no. 560 (III, p. 101).
69. Cheltham, van Gogh's Copies, p. 223.

fig 1
Fig. 1. Vincent van Gogh, Armand Roulin, 1888. Oil on canvas, 25 x 21", Museum Boyman –van Beuningen, Rotterdam

fig 2
Fig. 2. Vincent van Gogh, Armand Roulin, 1888. oil on canvas, 26 x 21-5/8. Folkwang Museum, Essen.

fig 3
Fig. 3. Hans Holbein the Elder, A Twenty-two Year Old member of the Weiss Family, 1522. Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt

fig 4
Fig. 4. Edgar Degas, James Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1868. Oil on canvas, 59-5/8 x 44". Metropolitan Museum of Arl, Rogers Fund.

fig 5
Fig. 5. Paul Gauguin, Self—Portrait, 1888. Oil on canvas. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

fig 6
Fig. 6. Emile Bernard, Self—Portrait, 1888. Oil on canvas. Stedelijk Museum, amsterdam

fig 7
Fig. 7. Vincent van Gogh, Joseph Roulin. 1888. Oil on canvas, 243/  x 20'/2". Rijksmuseum Kroller--Muller. Otleroo.

fig 8
Fig. 8. Anonymous Spanish, Woman with Pansies, c. 1500. Musée du Louvre, Paris,

fig 9
Fig. 9. Giovanni Bellini, Fra Teodoro da Urbino as St. Dominic. 1515. National Gallery, London,

fig 10
Fig. 10. Charles Bargue, Faustina (reversed). Plate 43: Cours de dessin, Modèles d’après le bosse

fig 11
Fig. 11. Charles Bargue, Facial Features (reversed). Plate 1: Cours de dessin, Modèles d'après le bosse.

A note regarding the genesis of this paper: When I was a young child, my bedroom was decorated with reproductions of paintings by various “moderns,” among them Gauguin and van Gogh. Among the works of the latter were Wheat Field with Cypresses (London, National Gallery) and Enclosed Field with Reaper at Sunrise (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Both left lasting impressions—the pictures perplexed and disturbed me, yet they also gave me great pleasure as I contemplated roiling nature, throbbing heat, space that expanded inexplicably, and where animate wheat rustled as it matured beneath a radiant sun. Never did I forget van Gogh, but when I chose to specialize in graduate school I did not consider nineteenth and twentieth century art; rather, I turned to earlier eras, and to problems associated with Flemish and Dutch culture in the later middle ages and in the early modern period. These were the areas of my expertise. What then brought me face to face again with van Gogh? A wrenching contested academic situation that was settled in my favor. To “reward” me for my success, the department chairperson demanded that I teach a survey course on nineteenth and twentieth--century art (1850—1930s), a course that all studio and art--history majors were required to take. I had one week to prepare for a course that I had never taught and knew not at all; moreover, colleagues were hardly collegial. When I queried one “specialist” about modernity and the modern, she was unable to give me a succinct helpful answer, not, I believe, because of animosity, but because she seemed not have resolved the matter herself. Faced with these difficulties, I perservered, and read as extensively as I could to prepare for my classes. To understand van Gogh, I decided to read the corpus of his letters and master his oeuvre as well as those of his contemporaries. From this immersion sprang the paper on Armand Roulin. Familiarity with van Gogh’s writings also made me question the framing of van Gogh’s paintings; too often these were set into weighty embellished florid gold frames that signified wealth and commodification but made poor Vincent writhe in his grave. I became an advocate of the painter’s directions concerning framing. In short, adversity, while distracting me from my specialization, brought me the gift of knowledge of a field that though emotively familiar, was terra incognito insofar as scholarship was concerned. Even from wicked deeds the good may be birthed.

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