Wikimedia Commons is one of the marvels of the Internet. (Especially for anyone who has ever accidentally posted a picture licensed to Getty Images–and heard from their intransigent legal team!) It’s a database of 17,301,188 media files that can be freely used as long as credit is properly given.
Yesterday this, called Sorrow –1882 drawing by Vincent van Gogh, was the picture of the day. (The title sounds even more sorrowful, perhaps, in French: La douleur.) Van Gogh made several versions of this image, sending one to his brother Theo and calling it “the best figure I have drawn yet.” In another letter to Theo, Vincent wrote about the pregnant woman in the picture: “Last winter I met a pregnant woman, deserted by the man whose child she was carrying. A pregnant woman who walked the streets in the winter — she had her bread to earn, you’ll know how. I took that woman on as a model and have worked with her all winter. I couldn’t pay her a model’s full daily wages, but I paid her rent all the same, and thus far, thank God, I have been able to save her and her child from hunger and cold by sharing my own bread with her.” Somehow it seems worth mentioning here that Van Gogh died at 37, having never sold a painting. His collected letters to his brother are among his masterpieces.