Letter 12, page 4

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Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 29 July 1888, Letter 12, page 4

Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007

MA 6441.11

I'm showing you a painter who dreams and who paints from the imagination, and I started off by
claiming that the character of the Dutch is that they invent nothing, that they have neither imagination
nor fantasy.

Am I illogical? No. Rembrandt invented nothing, and that angel and that strange Christ; it's—
that he knew them, felt them there.

Delacroix paints a Christ using an unexpected light lemon note, this colorful and luminous note
in the painting being what the ineffable strangeness and charm of a star is in a corner of the firmament.

Rembrandt works with values in the same way as Delacroix with colors.

Now, there's a gulf between the method of Delacroix and Rembrandt and that of all the rest of
religious painting.

I 'll write to you again soon. This to thank you for your drawings, which give me enormous pleasure.
Have just finished portrait of young girl of twelve, brown eyes, black hair and eyebrows, flesh yellow
gray, the background white, strongly tinged with veronese, jacket blood-red with violet stripes, skirt
blue with large orange spots, an oleander flower in her sweet little hand.

I'm so worn out from it that I hardly have a head for writing. So long, and again, many thanks.

Ever yours,

© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam