Two Cottages at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Vincent van Gogh
Reed pen and brown ink over pencil, roughly 12 x 18 inches (315 x 473 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image.
The attention given to the brilliantly colorful paintings of his later career often obscure the beauty and charm of Van Gogh’s drawings.
His drawings are wonderfully textural; his use of lines, dots and patterns of ink marks of varying weights give them a remarkable feeling of color, beyond his use of brown inks.
In this drawing of cottages in a Mediterranean fishing village where Van Gogh went specifically to draw in the the summer of 1888, he uses a variety of line weights, types of marks, and indications of texture to capture the cottages and their surrounding vegetation.
He has suggested bright sunlight with the shadows of the extended roof beams on the face of the cottage at right, and noted incidental details like the simple broom leaning against the wall next to the door. Quick strokes of lighter ink convey the lay of the land.
It’s interesting to compare Van Gogh’s drawing to this Rembrandt drawing of a cottage, which also uses a variety of line weights, but employs wash rather than linear or dotted textures to describe the forms.