The Zouave

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Le Zouave (half-figure)
Van Gogh - Der Zuave (Halbfigur).jpeg
ArtistVincent van Gogh
YearJune 1888
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions82 cm × 65 cm (32 in × 26 in)
LocationVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Zouave is the subject of several sketches and paintings made by Vincent van Gogh in Arles.

Van Gogh was excited to have a model for a portrait, and painted two of the Zouave soldier in June 1888. Van Gogh described him as a boy, though he is portrayed as older, with a small face, large neck and intense eyes. A half-length portrait, Le Zouave (half-figure), was made of the tanned man with bright colors he called a "savage combination of incongruous tones". The Zouave's uniform was blue with red-orange braids, a red cap and two yellow stars on his chest, all placed against the background of a green door and orange bricks.[1][2]

Van Gogh was not happy with the painting and described it as "ugly and unsuccessful", but thought the challenge might expand his artistic range. He made a further drawing, with which he was not particularly pleased, and a painting Le Zouave of the soldier against a white wall.[3]


  1. ^ Harrison, R, ed. (2011). "Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, Arles, 21 June 1888". Van Gogh Letters. WebExhibits. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  2. ^ "The Zouave, 1888". Permanent Collection. Van Gogh Museum. 2005–2011. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  3. ^ Harrison, R, ed. (2011). "Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Emile Bernard. Written 23 June 1888 in Arles". Van Gogh Letters. WebExhibits. Retrieved 2011-05-11.

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