1. On 21 January, Van Gogh had attended The Lord’s Supper (see letter 101).
2. The parental home, but at the same time alluding to the heavenly Father’s house: cf. hymn 207:5, hymn 249:6 and hymn 260:2.
3. From the prayer said at the beginning of a meal.
4. By Ecce Homo Van Gogh was probably referring to a reproduction after a work by Guido Reni (Paris, Musée du Louvre), which in any case was published by Goupil (Cat. Goupil 1877, p. 17); a burin engraving of this work had also been made by A. Delaforge (Chalcographie 1954, p. 119, no. 5940). There was also a reproduction of Reni’s Ecce Homo in circulation, the verso of which displayed a ‘poetical inscription by J.J.L. ten Kate’. On one such print Van Gogh wrote, inspired by Rom. 8:35 and 8:39: ‘Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ nor things present nor things to come’ (FR b1454). Ill. 1798 [1798]. Van Gogh also quoted Rom. 8:38-39 in letters 102 and 130. Cf. exhib. cat. London 1992, p. 143, cat. no. 104.
Görlitz recollected the following from this period. In early 1877, Van Gogh had asked permission ‘to affix some biblical prints to the wallpaper ... After half an hour the whole room was decorated with scenes from the Bible and with Ecce Homos, and below every head of Christ, Van Gogh had written: “steeds droevig, maar altijd blijde” [ever sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing]’. See Verzamelde brieven 1973, vol. 4, pp. 327-334 (quotation on p. 330).
5. To be sure, Guido Reni had also made a Mater Dolorosa, but Van Gogh was probably asking here for a Mater Dolorosa by Paul Delaroche. Ary Scheffer’s Mater Dolorosa was also published in the Goupil series ‘Cartes de visite’ (Bordeaux, Musée Goupil). Ill. 1799 [1799]. See letter 54, n. 14 and Ewals 1990, p. 64 (n. 4).