A ‘people apart’
From late 1883, Van Gogh immerses himself in the study of weavers. He finds his ‘models’ among the many linen weavers in Nuenen, whom he visits frequently while they are working at home. In his opinion, the weavers are ‘a people apart’ for whom he has great sympathy.
Interesting and challenging
The complicated construction of the looms, in combination with the small rooms in which these craftsmen work, make them an interesting and challenging motif for the painter. The fact that this motif is still rarely seen at that time gives him extra motivation to make images of them, which he may be able to sell.
Van Gogh has seen the weavers ‘weaving by lamplight in the evening, which creates very Rembrandtesque effects’. In Loom with weaver, he also attempts to depict such an evening effect. The weaver leans forward to lay the warp threads correctly. In the dark workshop, the dim incoming light creates a powerful chiaroscuro effect on the light cloth and the sturdy loom.