In this watercolor Vincent van Gogh paints Theo. The spectator looks over his shoulder while the artist is focused painting.
Vincent wasn’t able to portray his beloved brother during his short but productive artistic career. A question that can be raised here, is: why did he never paint Theo, while his brother helped him out so much? Or were Vincent’s letters a way of portraying his brother?
Here the famous painter honors his brother for the endless support that Theo gave him, both in a material sense (through finance) as well as emotional sense (through thoughts in letters). Other examples that characterize the artist, are: his bedroom in Arles, the sunflowers, the stone wall that symbolizes the wall in the mental institution in St. Remy where he stayed, and the sower and pollard willows with the setting sun in the background. The shape of the stones behind him is similar to the borders of countries where he lived, namely Holland, Belgium, France and England. Additionally, spiders on the walls refer to places where he lived or stayed during his lifespan.