Emanuele Coccia – The Sower. On Contemporary Nature

Vincent van Gogh completed and signed Sower with Setting Sun on or around 25 November 1888. The culmination of a lengthy preoccupation with the sower motif, the canvas condenses the various influences animating the artist as well as his intensive interrogations of painting. This resolutely modern work can also be described as such thanks to the act represented within it and to the equivalence established between the man and the tree.

In a highly original text combining philosophical essay and agricultural treatise, Emanuele Coccia takes a bold look at Vincent van Gogh’s masterpiece. What emerges are unexpected and illuminating affinities between sower and artist, agriculture and painting, landscape and museum, inviting us to rethink the system of relationships between species. Art, which is no longer the prerogative of humans, can finally be returned to the living beings making up our landscapes.

Emanuele Coccia is a philosopher. Since 2011 he has been Associate Professor at EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) in Paris. Returning the vegetal world, and more broadly the living world, to the heart of philosophical thought, he is the author of The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture (Polity Press, 2018; first published in French as La Vie des plantes. Une métaphysique du mélange, Rivages, 2016), Le Bien dans les choses (Rivages, 2013) and La Vie sensible (Rivages, 2010). He also was involved in the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain’s exhibition Trees (2019).


Technical details: 11,30 × 17 cm, 36 pages, 2 ill.
Bilingual edition (French/English)
Graphic design: Judith Spinatach
Éditions Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles
Published on 10 January 2020 / On sale at the Fondation from 16 Septembre 2019
ISBN : 979-10-94966-20-4
Price: €7.50