Death’s Head Moth (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

Death's Head Moth - Vincent van Gogh - 1889

Artwork Information

TitleDeath's Head Moth
ArtistVincent van Gogh
MediumChalk on Paper
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Location CreatedArles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

About Death's Head Moth

The artwork titled “Death’s Head Moth” is a piece attributed to Vincent van Gogh, a pivotal figure in the Post-Impressionist movement. It was created in 1889 using chalk on paper as the medium. This sketch and study genre work encapsulates the essence of the subject through the artist’s distinct approach to drawing. The artwork was brought to life in van Gogh’s surroundings in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, reflecting the local fauna that often captured his interest and inspired his exploration of natural themes.

The artwork portrays the detailed rendering of a Death’s Head Moth, capturing the intricate patterns and textures of the moth’s wings. The form of the moth is centered on the paper, with a distinct skull-like pattern on the thorax, which gives the species its common name. Van Gogh’s use of chalk allows for a dynamic interplay between light and shadow, accentuating the moth’s enigmatic appearance. The background of the sketch is minimally detailed, suggesting that the artist’s focus was primarily on the moth itself, offering us a closer glimpse into the natural world through his eyes. The sketch displays van Gogh’s sensitivity to the subtleties of his subject, revealing the transformative power of his artistic vision.

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