Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette1885-1886 by Vincent van Gogh

Painted in Antwerp, Jan. - Feb. 1886.

Vincent smoked tobacco...

"Did I you already tell that I have taken up smoking a pipe again?
I have found in it an old faithful friend, I believe that we never more will separate.
Uncle Vincent told me that you smoke too."
(Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, Paris, 10 Dec. 1875).
(http://www.tfsimon.com/auvers-sur-oise.html)


This undated painting...at the Van Gogh Museum in Antwerp, renders a macabre vision of a smoking skeleton in a muted, monochromatic palette. It remains somewhat ambiguous whether the artist van Gogh was making a serious commentary on the brevity of life, or a sardonic jab at the seriousness of morbid art. The museum website explains: “It was probably executed in the winter of 1885–86, during Van Gogh’s stay in Antwerp. This skull with a cigarette was likely meant as a kind of joke, and probably also as a comment on conservative academic
[https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/19/death-in-art-_n_6849376.html]
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Period / movement: post-impressionism
Dimensions (h/w/d): 13 10 (32 25)
Location: Van Gogh Museum , Amsterdam, The Netherlands