The Sower

Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, 1888. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Vincent van Gogh was raised in the Dutch Reform Church and had family in the art trade. He felt called to the ministry but was dismissed from his first job for being too zealous. In his disappointment he turned to art and found his calling there. He was a great admirer of the painter Jean-François Millet, particularly in Millet’s ability to use biblical allusion in his portrayals of working men and women. Van Gogh came back again and again to wheat field and harvest scenes as his metaphor for life and relationship with God. In his letters to his brother Theo, he discussed using complementary colors to bring symbolic intensity to this painting where he uses the sowing of new wheat against the field of mature wheat as a visual metaphor for the cycle of a human life.

Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, 1888.

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