van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
 
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18721891

 25 letters relate to food-and-drink - preference or contain ...Excerpt length: shorter longer  

Van Gogh's relationship with food was complicated. Like his fellow Protestants, he equated virtue with abstinence from luxury. He often reduced food to its essence, "bread," which was pure nourishment or fuel. He often quoted the Biblical imperative: "In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat thy bread." Nevertheless, he realized that virtue could lead to excess. While studying in Antwerp during the winter of 1885, he complained to Theo about his self-imposed frugality. In Arles, he tried to restore his energy by improving his eating habits. Because he suffered from stomach problems, he tried to persuade restaurant owners to prepare special food for him, such as strong brew, but he met with little success. Once he found a new and better restaurant to have his meals, Van Gogh felt his health improve immensely. In the Saint-Rémy asylum, van Gogh felt that a good appetite and regular meals could help to improve his sanity in all respects. In the first days of September 1889, following a major attack, he started to eat his way back to sanity. Dr. Peyron and Dr. Gachet encouraged Vincent to eat heartily. ... Read more
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(17 September 1875)
... Your loving brother, Vincent You are eating properly, aren't you? In particular eat especially as much bread as you can. Sleep well, I must go and polish my boots for tomorrow. *The same is true of the feeling for art. Do not succumb...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(29 September 1875)
... and don't let them hit you too hard. How about eating bread, have you tried that? In a great hurry I shake your hand warmly in thought. ...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(14 October 1875)
... and that of Icarus to fly to the sun. To my mind, there is nothing wrong with having a reasonably strong body, so make sure you feed yourself properly, and if you feel very hungry sometimes, or rather, have a good appetite, then eat well....
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(9 November 1875)
... time, I go to bed at an equally good hour. Every morning my worthy Englishman prepares oatmeal - how I wish you could be here some morning. I shall write more soon. Write again soon and about everything. With a firm handshake, I am always...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(15 November 1875)
... take this note yourself, won't you? Every morning my dear Englishman prepares oatmeal, his father sent him 25 pounds of it. I wish you could taste it with us. I am so glad that I met this boy. I have learned from him, and in...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(18 August 1877)
... sun just peeps in, and later in the yard. Then I breakfasted on a piece of dry bread and a glass of beer -
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(30 October 1877)
... Scotland and colouring them (red and green). I thought of those pickles which Uncle is so fond of and which I have learned to like too. The soul of man is singularly strange, and I think it is excellent to have one - like a map of England,...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(1 November 1880)
... with misery, if I had stayed a month longer. You must not imagine that I live richly here, for my chief food is dry bread or some potatoes or chestnuts which people sell here on the street corners, but by having a somewhat better room and by occasionally...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 12-16 January 1882)
... I also spend what is necessary for myself, though living as cheaply as possible. (I take my meals in the soup kitchen.) Yet I hope you will not object to my going on. But I repeat what I already said in my last letter, let me know as...

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