There are many years of difference between the works painted by Delacroix and those of Vicenta Van Gogh, however in both works we find common echoes since the two artists were great painters of their time, perhaps one of the best, who knew how to create a unique and personal style to reproduce on their canvases. On the other hand, both artistsleft us their personal and artistic concerns in writing,Delacroix in his diary and Van Gogh in his correspondence with his brother Theo.
Delacroix (1798 – 1863) revolutionized the neoclassical world of painting with his almost theatrical compositions of great movement and colour, while Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) knew how to give his paintings a unique personality with small brushstrokes loaded with impasto colorist. As revolutionaries of their time, it does not seem strange that Van Gogh looked at Delacroix's work at a certain point in his life to recreate with his own brushes a scene that was based on a canvas already painted by the romantic painter.
By now we all know the psychological instability that reigned in Van Gogh's life, the artist was a complex man with serious emotional problems that often made him explode in strong outbursts of anger, the work that we analyze here, La Piedad was created after one of those emotional episodes, perhaps the serious one it had throughout itslife and that led him to amputate part of his own ear.
Back then Van Gogh and Gauguin had planned to hold an artists' commune in Arles, painters tired of bustling Paris looking to the countryside for new inspiration but what Gauguin didn't count on was the outbursts of the Dutch artists who made coexistence unbearable and after he cut off his earlobe Gauguin decided to leave Arles in search of tranquility. For his part, Van Gogh entered a psychiatric sanatorium and it was precisely because of the impossibility of going out to the field and because of his serious psychiatric situation, of which he himself was aware, that he decided to seek inspiration among the classics by reproducing his own version of a Pietà that Delacroix had painted years ago.
Van Gogh who had always been a religious man, for some time weighed the idea of following in the footsteps of his father who was a Calvinist pastor, he didn't do many religious paintings, this is actually the only pity that we keep of his brushes. The Post-Impressionist artist has followed the same composition as Delacroix but we can nonetheless appreciate his personal touch in the fast, precisely applied brushwork that gives the painting great dynamism as well as in the almost surreal coloring of the canvas.