Regarding the first artwork by Van Gogh I never looked at that painting in religious terms. But it makes sense. His parents were quite strong adherents to the church. In fact Van Gogh himself was a missionary among the Irish potato eaters starving under British rule during his young adult days.
The influence of the Holy Catholic Church was so strong arising from the Roman Empire it controlled mostly which artists survived. Except for a few rich families like the Medici who supported artists. So no surprise at each artist expressing hidden messages for society about religious efforts to control. Great read Rameen Zeeshan Thanks!