Letter 07/29/1883 - by Vincent van Gogh

Letter 07/29/1883 - by Vincent van Gogh
Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org

Yesterday and the day before I went for a walk near Loosduinen. I went from the village towards the sea and discovered a lot of wheat fields there, not really as pretty as those in Brabant, but they should still have people harvesting, sowing, gleaning, all those things I missed this year and why at times I felt a need for something else.

I painted another study on the beach there. There are some sea defenses or groins - piers, jetties - and very good ones, too, of weathered stone and woven branches. I sat down on one to paint the incoming tide, until it came so close that I had to pack up all my belongings. Now, between the village and the sea there are shrubs of a deep bronze-green, blown in the wind and so real that one might think of several of them: oh, this is clearly Ruysdael's actual Bush. You can now go there by steam tram, so it is quite easy to reach even if you have things to carry or have wet studies to bring home.

Here you see a rough sketch of the lane to the sea. I especially thought of you on my walk. I have no doubt that you will agree with me that in the last ten years the dunes in the vicinity of the town and Scheveningen have lost a great deal of their naturalness; and there is something else, year by year they have acquired a more frivolous character.

Scheveningen is undoubtedly very beautiful, but has not been virgin territory for a long time; on the walk I described to you that untouched quality of nature struck me enormously.

It has lately been rare for silence, for nature alone, to speak to me in such a way. Sometimes it is just in places like this that you are no longer aware of what is known as the civilized world and leave all that decidedly behind you; sometimes you need just those places to calm yourself down. Only I would have wished to have you with me, because I think you would have shared my impression of finding myself in an environment just as I imagine Scheveningen to have been in the days when the first Daubignys appeared, and I found that this environment had a strong power, stimulating me to take on some real man's work.