snapshots of my travels
Vincent Van Gogh came to Provence, a region of Southern France, in search of sunlight, warm days, and artistic inspiration. The Dutch painter was fascinated by the vivid colors, the people, and the Cyprus trees.
While there are no original works left in Provence (they have been bought by museums in Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, and New York City), it is still possible to see the actual spots he painted. At times, it felt as if his spirits still lingered between the hospital's cloisters or in the fields of flowers. Many locations around Provence even had "easels" set up nearby to show the comparison between real life and Van Gogh's interpretation.
Hospital in Arles
Van Gogh painted the Hospital in Arles more than once from late 1888 to early 1889. He had just cut off his ear, then began experiencing hallucinations.
Starry Night Over the Rhone
Van Gogh painted the lesser famous "Starry Night" in Arles in September of 1888. Legend has it, he would balance candles on his hat to allow him to see his easel during the middle of the night.
Terrasse des Cafés an der Place du Forum
Located smack dab in the middle of town, this cafe is an easy one to find. Unfortunately, it is quite the tourist trap. It has since been renamed Cafe Van Gogh, and now serves expensive food.
Bedroom in Arles
Like many of Van Gogh's most famous painting, the Bedroom in Arles was painted in 1888. While the actual bedroom in Arles was bombed during World War II, there is a recreation of his bedroom at the Van Gogh Asylum in Saint Remy. He loved this painting so much that he painted again two more times. The disproportional look was intentional, as to imitate a style of Japanese painting.
Peach Tree in Blossom
The Dutch artist was enamored by all the natural beauty in Southern France. He painted trees hundreds of times. While the photo of the blooming peach tree was painted in Arles, the largest amount of pink trees were found in Avignon. I am fairly confident these are actually cherry blossoms.
Jardin de l'hôpital Saint Paul
He came to this asylum in Saint Remy in 1889 after leaving the hospital in Arles to begin receiving treatment for his mental health. In a letter to his brother, he complained about the lack of care given to the garden. In another letter to Emile Bernard, he said, "You’ll understand that this combination of red ochre, of green saddened with grey, of black lines that define the outlines, this gives rise a little to the feeling of anxiety from which some of my companions in misfortune often suffer, and which is called 'seeing red'."
The Yellow House
Van Gogh lived in the Yellow House on 2 Place Lamartine, in Arles in 1888. In a letter to his brother Theo, he wrote, "...It’s tremendous, these yellow houses in the sunlight and then the incomparable freshness of the blue."
The building was damaged by the Allies during World War II and later demolished. That being said, there are tons of buildings around Provence that looks very similar - the yellow walls, the green shutters, and the nearby restaurants are all commonplace in this area.
Green Wheat Fields
Green Wheat Fields was painted in Auvers in 1890, while my photo was taken just outside of Saint Remy. Still, the landscape looked pretty similar to the one Van Gogh painted above.
What is one painting by Vincent Van Gogh you would like to see?