When Vincent Van Gogh lived in Saint-Rémy, he asked his brother to take the engraving of Regamé “Katorga”, but he could not find it, and Vincent chose to replace her with the engraving “Ostrog” by Gustave Dore. The picture “Walk of prisoners” is a copy of Dore’s engraving, but it was made in the artist’s own style.
At the top of the picture you can see two small white birds, this is done so that the viewer realizes the entire height of the walls of the prison. People seem to be at the bottom of a huge well, from which they can not escape, the time there is very slow, people are meaningless wandering around in circles. In this picture, Van Gogh managed to use such colors that the viewer could feel all the melancholy and hopelessness that impregnated the canvas. The walls are illuminated from above by the sun, but they do not reach the prisoners, they are in constant darkness. This place is devoid of any mention of a free life.
In the right part of the column, many of the prisoners are facing the viewer, they look at him with displeasure, envying his freedom. Most prisoners go with their heads down. The closest thing to the viewer is the prisoner does not look like everything, stands out from the whole column, he lifted his head, on which there is no cap. This prisoner looks glumly into the eyes of the viewer, as if he wants to say something to him. If you carefully consider it, it becomes clear that in this prisoner Van Gogh showed an image of himself.
This is the only picture in which he openly writes his self-portrait in one of the heroes of the picture, in many other works one can only guess at the similarity of the hero with the artist. Van Gogh did not accidentally decided to present himself as a prisoner, because then he lived in a settlement for mentally ill people, was isolated from society. Imagining himself in the role of a prisoner, he shows us his most terrible forebodings, at that time he was tormented for many years by mental illness. Half a year after writing this picture, Vincent Van Gogh passed away.