Vincent van Gogh - A Pair of Shoes (1886-8)
The first piece of the series was “painted from a pair of boots Van Gogh purchased at a flea market. He wore the boots on an extended rainy walk to create the effect he wanted, which may have been a tribute to the working man. The Van Gogh Museum speculates that they may also be symbolic for Van Gogh of his difficult passage through life.
Of his walking through mud to make the shoes look more worn and dirty, Van Gogh was known to say ‘Dirty shoes and roses can both be good in the same way.’”