Idol (c.1886) by Vincent van Gogh

Idol - Vincent van Gogh - c.1886

Artwork Information

ArtistVincent van Gogh
MediumChalk on Paper
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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About Idol

The artwork entitled “Idol,” attributed to Vincent van Gogh, dates from around 1886. This piece is crafted using chalk on paper, and it exemplifies the Realism art movement. Classified as a nude painting, the artwork is held in the Van Gogh Museum located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Depicting the human form with particular attention to anatomical detail, the artwork features a rear view of a standing nude figure. The subject is presented in a classic contrapposto stance, a pose that suggests movement and relaxed naturalism. The muscular definition and the gentle curvature of the spine are rendered with a discerning use of chiaroscuro to highlight the three-dimensionality of the figure. The texture of the chalk brings a tactile quality to the drawing, and the use of hatching and cross-hatching techniques creates a sense of depth and volume. The deliberate focus on the form without the distraction of a detailed background indicates a study of the human body, likely with educational or practice intent, which is common within the tradition of Realist art.

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