|The first sketchbook|
In an 1882 letter to his brother Theo, he wrote:
“My sketchbook shows that I try to catch things ‘in the act.’ This private record of the artist’s genius, however, has remained obscured from public view.
At Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, are kept the artist’s seven surviving sketchbooks, only four with their original cover, meticulously stored in the prints and drawings archive.
The first sketchbook has a royal blue, marbled inside cover and an empty pocket at the back. The first image he sketched in it was a church in Nuenen.
He later painted this church in View of the Sea at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen.
The remaining pages of the first notebook are filled with drawings of people and places, capturing rural life in Nuenen. The second sketchbook, with a black cover, continues with glimpses of Nuenen, then turns to Antwerp, where Van Gogh moved in November of 1885. It was there he developed his passion for Japanese woodblock prints. Soon, however, the artist — who had been sustaining himself primarily on bread, coffee and absinthe — fell ill and moved to Paris to live with his brother, beginning his third sketchbook — a rectangular giant compared to his previous pocket-sized books lined in linen — which he filled with drawings of Parisian people and museum sculptures, as well as the female nudes who posed for him.
|sunflower sketches from the final sketchbook|
It was only in the final sketchbook — an elegant one with a linen jacket and a tie to keep it closed — that Van Gogh sketched the first versions of his iconic series Sunflowers.
Original story taken from brain pickings.
Text written by Maria Popova.