‘Sorrow’, an 1882 drawing by Vincent van Gogh, depicts a 32-year-old pregnant woman, Clasina Maria Hoornik, who went by the name of Sien. Sien was homeless and had addictions to alcohol and tobacco and was working in prostitution. Van Goh provided her and her 5-year old daughter shelter and painted and drew her portrait.
Van Gogh portrays Sien as a woman scarred by life. The drawing is an overall representation of the working poor and its connection to mental illness and prostitution. The flowers in the foreground may represent a hopeful turn of events in Sien’s situation, particularly in relation to Van Gogh’s desire to help and care for her.