Saturday Jan 09, 2010

Earning Your Bread

An excerpt from a letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother, Theo van Gogh, February, 13, 1882. Vincent counted on financial support from his brother.

I do not care so much about that “taking my part,” but I must say that sometimes I cannot bear Tersteeg’s (he initially encouraged Vincent’s life as an artist, but later on did not think much of Vincent’s eccentric attitude to life) saying to me over and over again, “You must begin to think about earning your own living.” I think it is such a dreadful expression, and then it is all I can do to keep calm. I work as hard as I can and do not spare myself, so I deserve my bread, and they ought not to reproach me with not having been able to sell anything up to now.

While Vincent felt he deserved his bread, we can finesse his thought to this: he “earned” his bread—which is more likely what he had in mind.

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