Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 15 July 1888, Letter 10, page 2
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
A microscopic figure of a plowman, a little train passing through the wheat fields; that's the only
life there is in it. Listen, I passed—a few days after my arrival—that place with a painter friend.
There's something that would be boring to do, he said. I said nothing myself, but I found that so
astonishing that I didn't even have the strength to give that idiot a piece of my mind. I go back there,
go back, go back again—well, I've done two drawings of it—of that flat landscape in which there was
nothing but . . . the infinite . . . eternity.
Well—while I'm drawing along comes a chap who isn't a painter but a soldier. I say, "Does it
astonish you that I find that as beautiful as the sea?" Now he knew the sea—that one. "No—it doesn't
astonish me"—he says—"that you find that
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam