1. Van Gogh is mistaken in the date of L’Illustration by one day: no. 2174 of volume 42 came out on Saturday, 25 October 1884. It contains Paul Renouard, La crise industrielle à Lyon – Sans travail (The industrial crisis in Lyon – Out of work) (p. 268), engraved by Clément Edouard Bellenger. Ill. 399 [399]. Theo sent this issue in February; see letter 483. Van Gogh noted the details of this issue of L’Illustration in one of his sketchbooks. See Van der Wolk 1987, pp. 54, 287-288.
2. Paul Renouard, L’harpiste (The harpist), engraved by Henri Dochy, was on p. 273 in the same issue. Ill. 389 [389].
3. See for the theme issue of Le monde judicaire (The legal world) of Paris Illustré: letter 475, n. 3. F.-G. Dumas was ‘directeur artistique’ of the magazine.
4. This quotation is taken from the introduction to Gavarni’s La mascarade humaine: see letter 294, n.7.
5. It is not clear what metaphor Van Gogh is referring to here. Michelangelo suggested the idea that sculptures transcend time in a series of three madrigals and a sonnet: ‘Here art would have lived on / In just a living stone’. See Gilbert Creighton, Complete poems and selected letters of Michelangelo. Princeton, New Jersey 1980, pp. 133 (sonnet 237), 133-134 (madrigal 238, quotation), 134 (madrigal 239) and 135 (madrigal 240).
a. Means: ‘bepaal’ (decide).
6. Mr van Gogh wrote to Theo on 24 January 1885: ‘It’s a pity that Vincent doesn’t have some fun skating. However, he is hard at work’ (FR b2266).
b. Means: ‘aangezien, omdat’ (since, because).