Windmill is a frequent subject which appeared multiple times in Van Gogh's paintings. In Angust 1881, Van Gogh was taking a train from
Etten to Hague to visit his cousin (by marriage) Anton Mauve. On the way back he got off the train to make a record of this typically
In this drawing, Windmills at Dordrecht , Van Gogh was exploiting his skill with the pen, but he could also capture landscape characteristics flawlessly using other techniques. In a letter to his brother Theo, he wrote about his struggles with the technique:
"Most of them are impressions of landscape, I dare not say as well done as those that sometimes occur in your letters, because still I am often checked by technical difficulties - yet there is something in them, I think - for instance, a silhouette of the city in the evening, when the sun is setting, and a towpath with windmills."