Look at the sky. It’s not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there, lighter blue. And blowing through the blueness and the blackness, the wind swirling through the air and then, shining, burning, bursting through - the stars! Can you see how they roar their light? Everywhere we look, the complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.
Landscapes from Saint Rémy (1889)
As a Dutch post-Impressionist painter, Vincent Van Gogh influenced the 20th century art with his landscape paintings where he used vivid colors that made an emotional impact. The early works of Van Gogh were painted with a palette of somber earth tones and no signs of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later works. When he moved to Paris in 1886, he was inspired by the French Impressionists and was fascinated by the strong sunlight on the south of France. Since then, he used brighter colors in his paintings that helped him develop a unique style of his own which became known considerably in the later years of his life while staying in Arles in 1888. Van Gogh’s incredible Sunflowers series of still life paintings were loved by him and he felt that there could not be anything better to convey a sense of welcome, belongingness and happiness.
On 8 May 1889, accompanied by his carer, van Gogh committed himself to the hospital at Saint Rémy.
During his stay in Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh produced 150 paintings after he converted an adjacent cell into a studio. While he was confined to the direct asylum grounds, he painted the world he could see from his room, and ignored the bars that obscured his view. His paintings in the garden of the asylum included irises, lilacs, and ivy-covered trees. His paintings further ventured into the fields, of which he painted the wheatfields, olive groves, and cypress trees from the surrounding countryside view. This imposed regimen of his asylum life gave him contentment and helped him to think positively about his life and future.
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Vincent van Gogh - Almond Blossoms, 1888-90
And it will not end well.
every life is a pile of good things & bad things.
we’re so lucky we’re still alive to see this beautiful world
Café Terrace at Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1888
“Perhaps death is not the hardest thing in a painter’s life… Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”