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Tomakker (hoek van de Smits van Oyenlaan met de Laan van Nuenhem)

The cemetery still exists and can be visited.

Van Gogh in


  1. 5 Dec. 1884 1883
     - 24 Nov. 1885

Beside the old church tower at Nuenen was a graveyard that Vincent liked to draw and paint. Several of his studies were unsuccessful but he was satisfied with the painting The Old Church Tower at Nuenen. In June 1885, he sent the work to his brother Theo, who was living in Paris and showed Vincent’s work to art connoisseurs there:

“I’ve left out some details — I wanted to say how this ruin shows that for centuries the peasants have been laid to rest there in the very fields that they grubbed up in life — I wanted to say how perfectly simply death and burial happen, coolly as the falling of an autumn leaf — no more than a bit of earth turned over — a little wooden cross. The fields around — where the grass of the churchyard ends, beyond the little wall, they make a last fine line against the horizon — like the horizon of a sea. And now this ruin says to me how a faith and religion mouldered away, although it was solidly founded — how, though, the life and death of the peasants is and will always be the same, springing up and withering regularly like the grass and the flowers that grow there in that churchyard.” Read the complete letter

Vincent’s father died suddenly of a heart attack on 26 March 1885. He was buried in the cemetery on Monday, 30 March.

Made here

Churchyard in winter, 1883

Churchyard in winter, 1883

Mixed media, 18,4 x 28,6 cm

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)

The old church tower at Nuenen ('Het boerenkerkhof'), 1885

The old church tower at Nuenen ('Het boerenkerkhof'), 1885

Oil on canvas, 65 x 80 cm

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)

    Relevant letters from Vincent

    Continue reading

    1. Ton de Brouwer

      Van Gogh en Nuenen
      Venlo, 1984