A pair of shoes by Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1886  

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A pair of shoes by Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1886. Martin Heidegger mentions this particular work in The Origin of the Work of Art as an example of a painting that reveals (aletheia) a whole world.
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A pair of shoes by Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1886. Martin Heidegger mentions this particular work in The Origin of the Work of Art as an example of a painting that reveals (aletheia) a whole world.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A pair of shoes by Vincent van Gogh, Paris, 1886[1][2] (F255) is a painting by Vincent van Gogh. The painting depicts a pair of worn out shoes. It is in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum.

Martin Heidegger mentions this particular work in The Origin of the Work of Art as an example of a painting that reveals (aletheia) a whole world.

He wrote:

"From the dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes the toilsome tread of the worker stands forth. In the stiffly solid heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the field, swept by a raw wind. On the leather there lies the dampness and saturation of the soil. Under the soles there slides the loneliness of the field-path as the evening declines. In the shoes there vibrates the silent call of the earth, its quiet gift of the ripening corn and its enigmatic self-refusal in the fallow desolation of the wintry field. This equipment is pervaded by uncomplaining anxiety about the certainty of bread, the wordless joy of having once more withstood want, the trembling before the advent of birth and shivering at the surrounding menace of death. This equipment belongs to the earth and it is protected in the world of the peasant woman. From out of this protected belonging the equipment itself rises to its resting-in-self."[3]

Van Gogh did eight paintings of shoes and boots, see Van Gogh and shoes. In the words of Meyer Schapiro in the essay "The Still Life as a Personal Object: a Note on Heidegger and Van Gogh" (1968): "Eight paintings of shoes by van Gogh are recorded by de la Faille in his catalogue of all the canvasses by the artist that had been exhibited at the time Heidegger wrote his essay."[4]

Overview

Van Gogh made Pair of Shoes (F255) from a pair of boots he purchased at a flea market. He wore the boots on an extended rainy walk to create the effect he wished for this painting, which may have been a tribute to the working man. The Van Gogh Museum speculates that they may also be symbolic for Van Gogh of his "difficult passage through life." Of his walking through mud to make the shoes look more worn and dirty, Van Gogh was known to say "Dirty shoes and roses can both be good in the same way."

See also




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