Anna van Gogh (née Carbentus) married Theodorus van Gogh in 1851. Anna was a pleasant woman and good mother with a talent for drawing. She passed her enthusiasm for art to her son Vincent at an early age and was always supportive of his work.
The painting above at right is based on the photograph. In a letter to Theo, Vincent wrote: "I am doing a portrait of Mother for myself. I cannot stand the colourless photograph and am trying to do one in a harmony of colour, as I see her in my memory." (Letter 546).
In another letter Vincent said: "I am working on a portrait of Mother, because the black-and-white photograph annoys me so. Ah, what portraits could be made from nature with photography and painting! I always hope that we are still to have a great revolution in portraiture" (Letter 548).
Anna outlived all three of her sons.