Vincent van Gogh - The Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles 1889

The Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles 1889
The Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles
Oil on canvas 73.0 x 92.0 cm. Arles: April, 1889
Winterthur: Oskar Reinhart Collection 'Am Römerholz'

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Van Gogh made a drawing of the courtyard of the hospital in June 1889. The vantage point for the painting was his room within the hospital. Van Gogh's description and his painting of the garden allow for identification of its flowers, such as: blue bearded irises, forget-me-nots, oleander, pansies, primroses, and poppies. The original design of the courtyard as described by Van Gogh has been preserved. Radiating segments are surrounded by a "plante bande" now filled with irises. A difference between Van Gogh’s painting and the garden is that Van Gogh increased the size of the central fish garden for better composition. Adept at using color to convey mood, the shades of blue and gold in the painting seem to suggest melancholy. The yellow, orange, red and green in the painting are not vivid shades seen in other work from Arles, such as Bedroom in Arles.

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Emile Bernard. Arles, on or about Tuesday, 21 August 1888.
My dear Bernard,
I want to do figures, figures and more figures, it’s stronger than me, this series of bipeds from the baby to Socrates and from the black-haired woman with white skin to the woman with yellow hair and a sunburnt face the colour of brick.
Meanwhile, I mostly do other things.
Thanks for your letter; this time I’m writing in great haste and really worn out.
I’m very pleased that you’ve joined Gauguin.
Ah, I do have a new figure all the same, which is absolutely a continuation of certain studies of heads done in Holland; I showed you them once, with a painting from that time, potato eaters. I wish I could show it to you. Again it’s a study in which colour plays a role that the black and white of a drawing couldn’t convey.
I wanted to send you a very large and very carefully finished drawing of it.
Well — it turned into something entirely different, while still being correct.
Because once again the colour suggests the scorched air of harvest time at midday in the blistering heat, and without that it’s a different painting. I would dare to believe that you and Gauguin would understand it, but how ugly they’ll find it! You fellows know what a peasant is, how much of the wild animal there is when you come across somebody pure-bred. I also have a man unloading a sand boat. That is, there are two boats, purplish pink, in Veronese green water, with yellow-grey sand, wheelbarrows, planks, a little blue and yellow man. All of it seen from the top of a quay overhanging everything in a bird’s-eye view. No sky. It’s just a sketch, or rather, a rough sketch done out in the mistral.
Next, I’m attempting to do dusty thistles with a great swarm of butterflies swirling above them. Oh, the beautiful sun down here in high summer; it beats down on your head and I have no doubt at all that it drives you crazy. Now being that way already, all I do is enjoy it. I’m thinking of decorating my studio with half a dozen paintings of Sunflowers.

A decoration in which harsh or broken yellows will burst against various blue backgrounds, from the palest Veronese to royal blue, framed with thin laths painted in orange lead. Sorts of effects of stained-glass windows of a Gothic church.
Ah, my dear pals, we crazy ones, let’s anyway enjoy with our eyes, shall we?
Alas, nature gets paid in kind, and our bodies are despicable and sometimes a heavy burden. But since Giotto, a sickly character, that’s the way things are.
Oh, and nevertheless, what delight of the eye and what laughter, the toothless laughter of Rembrandt the old lion, his head covered in a cloth, his palette in his hand. How I’d like to spend these present days in Pont-Aven, but anyway, I console myself by reconsidering the sunflowers.
I shake your hand firmly; more soon.
Ever yours,