Van Gogh at Borinage

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From the moment you heard of the Borinage, you felt attracted to it... You sent Theo the description found in a book and you made that drawing... What were you going to do in the Borinage? Was the misery of that black country that you found so attractive? Or of those inhabitants “who work in darkness”? When you reach that place, when you see its poverty and the unbearable, hard life...led by these miners who see daylight on Sundays only, the cold, disease, hunger... You get rid of your clothes, you become poorer than them. When you sink in a state of utter destitution and distress, You look for a gleam of light, which you will find underground... You will dive into the depths of the mine and of yourself... You will surface different, with a new desire... “ Down there I saw a gleam, not bigger than a star in the sky”.
You start drawing night and day... You have made up your mind, you want to devote your life to painting. “I will resume drawing, and then it seems to me that everything has changed for me, and my pencil becomes obedient”...