Green wheat field with cypress by Vincent Van Gogh

Green wheat field with cypress by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s painting “A Green Wheat Field with Cypress” was written during his stay at St Paul’s Hospital for the mentally ill in Saint Remi, where he stayed for almost a year. In early June 1889, Dr. Peyron allowed the artist to go beyond the fence of the park and write around the monastery of St. Paul.

Van Gogh, yearning for “consoling art,” began to paint picturesque landscapes: olive groves, cypress trees, wheat-sowed fields. He especially liked the cypresses, lifting their crowns to the sky, similar to the tongues of a black wriggling flame.

Van Gogh almost always

introduced cypress into the image of the southern nature, saying that they are “the most characteristic feature of the Provencal landscape”. However, the researchers of the painter’s work explain such a predilection by the fact that these trees in the Mediterranean since ancient times were a sign of sorrow and death.

The paintings of 1888-1889 are endowed with a special symbolism of the images associated with the specific worldview of Van Gogh during this period. The artist divides the space of his paintings into two opposing and interacting worlds – “northern” and “southern”, and the interpretation of objects and flowers begins to obey this division. The south corresponds to night, top, death, cypress, black, dark blue and bright yellow tones. North – day, bottom, life, fields, green and blue colors.

Most of these elements are present in the picture “Green wheat field with cypress”, for example, you can see how the dark silhouette of the cypress rises in the middle of the uneven wheat swaying from the wind. Ascending from the earth, it, like an ancient dispassionate monument, connects the trembling ocean of green, slightly touched with gold ears with a threatening severe sky.

A new semantic load changes the artist’s picturesque manner. Rejecting the classical lessons received in Arles, Van Gogh returns to the characteristic for his early work of expressiveness. The forms in the picture become dramatically emphasized, they are covered by a single movement, they are subject to a strained rhythm.

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