Vincent’s Bookshelf

Vincent van Gogh: Painting of French Novels, 1887 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)
Vincent van Gogh: Painting of French Novels, 1887 (© Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam)

Though he was first and foremost a painter, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) had a great love of literature, chronicled in great detail in the wealth of letters to his brother Theo. Some 800 references to works by more than 150 authors show a broad and eclectic literary interest. The Bible and Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Emile Zola were among his favorites. Books shaped his ideas about art and life. They also inspired many of his paintings. David Swatling browses through “Vincent’s Bookshelf” with Dr. Leo Jansen of the Van Gogh Museum’s Letter Project.

Produced and presented by David Swatling

 First broadcast 30 March, 2003