Vincent van Gogh, then 30 years old, arrived in Nuenen on 5 December 1883, travelling by train from Nieuw-Amsterdam in the province of Drenthe to the former railway station in Nuenen. He stayed with his parents in the rectory.
Vincent did not feel welcome at all.
Van Gogh hoped that a large work featuring several people would help prove himself to the outside world. Paintings of peasants having their daily meal were popular at that time. He practiced for months painting heads, and many studies preceded the Potato Eaters. He was satisfied with the result but his brother Theo and his artist friend Anthon van Rappard were very critical of his work.
On 24 November 1885 Vincent left for Antwerp. Various paintings and drawings he left behind with his family were lost when his mother and sister Willemien moved to Breda early in 1886. Many paintings from his Nuenen period can be seen in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch.
If you want to hear the full story about Vincent's life and how he worked towards his first masterpiece, visit the Van Gogh Village Museum, with several exhibits about it, and hands-on experiences.Van Gogh Village Museum