I loved stumbling upon van Gogh's shoe paintings this week. That's been one of the fun parts of this research is finding something so unexpected.
Also unexpected was finding this “Skull of a skeleton with burning cigarette” by Vincent van Gogh. It's undated but believed to be from around 1885-1886. This piece is completely new to me and then I learned that designer Chip Kidd used it on the first edition cover for When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. Sedaris is said to have been "fascinated with the image" after seeing it on a postcard during a trip to Amsterdam.
I’ve been reading a graphic novel called Vincent and the author paints van Gogh as very volatile, quick tempered kind of guy. And so I wonder if reading that led me to paint this portrait much darker than the portrait I started last week.
Van Gogh began painting around age 27 and he died at age 37. In those 10 years he created more than 2000 pieces, around 900 paintings (averaging about 2 per week) and 1100 drawing/sketches. At least 36 of the 900 paintings were self portraits.