We need an art with strength and vigour, says Raffaëlli,7 and in achieving this in the figure one has so much difficulty finding models.
The time has passed, and I’m not complaining about it. Although it’s enough for a figure to be put together conventionally, academically – or actually, although many people want precisely that, there’ll be a reaction nonetheless — and I hope that will stir things up. The artists are calling for character,  1r:4 well — the public will do the same. I assure you that I find Uhde’s Christ extraordinarilyunfortunate, it won’t do — the children are good.
I’m so fond of Lhermitte — Raffaëlli — because it’s thought out through and through, sensible and honest.
I’ve got a few figures here, a woman with a spade seen from behind,8 another one bending over to glean ears of corn9 — another one from the front with her head almost on the ground, digging up carrots.10
I’ve been spying on these peasant figures here for 1 1/2 years and on their activities, precisely to get some character into it. So I really can’t stand a Santa Claus like Uhde put there in that little school — the little school itself is so fine, though! Uhde himself — well, I wager that he knows it too — and that he did it on account of the fact that the good citizens of that country where he lives desire a ‘subject’ and ‘something conventional to think about’, and otherwise he’d have to starve. If I find another moment one of these days when I’m not too tired to write, I’ll try to tell you how outstandingly good I find some things in Raffaëlli.
Regards, with a handshake.
Yours truly,

To Theo. Nuenen, Monday, 6 July 1885

  Drawing, Black chalk Nuenen: July, 1885 The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, New York, United States of America, North America F: ;1262b, ;JH: ;840