Vincent’s stillborn brother lies buried in the cemetery beside the village church where Dorus Van Gogh was parson. On 30 March 1852 – exactly a year before Vincent was born – his mother bore a lifeless son, whom she also called Vincent. Vincent’s birthday was thus forever linked to the day of his brother’s death.
He presumably went to see the little grave as a child, and he made occasional visits to the Zundert cemetery later in life. In a letter sent to Tersteeg, his former boss at Goupil & Cie, after the death of Tersteeg’s young daughter on 24 July 1877, Vincent wrote:
“My Father has also felt what you will have been feeling these past days. I recently stood early one morning in the cemetery at Zundert next to the little grave on which is written: Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of God. More than 25 years have passed since he buried his first little boy there.” Read the complete letter