Finding His Style: Van Gogh in Provence
Van Gogh left the grey wintery skies of Paris in 1888 for a warmer, brighter Arles, which he famously painted in rich yellows, ultramarine, and mauve. Van Gogh spent much of his time there living in what he referred to as “The Yellow House” on “The Street,” properly known as Place Lamartine. Painted with pale yellow walls and vibrant green shutters, the Yellow House acted as Van Gogh’s home and studio. In Arles, at the age of 35, he painted masterpieces such as Bedroom in Arles, The Yellow House, and Café Terrace at Night. During your visit to Arles, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the places that sparked the painter’s imagination on our Van Gogh Walking Tour.
Diminishing Mental Health: The Ails of Van Gogh
It was near the end of the same year that Van Gogh suffered from a mental breakdown, famously cutting off his own ear after hearing voices. After the incident, he became known around town as “le fou roux,” or “the redhead madman.” Unfortunately, his stay at the hospital in Arles only tarnished his reputation, damaging his already limited success as a painter.
In 1889, Van Gogh checked himself into Saint-Paul de Mausole Asylum in Saint Rémy, a mere 19 miles outside of Arles. He remained at the asylum for the better part of a year, living in two barred cells, one of which acted as his studio. The clinic and the gardens of the asylum became central to Van Gogh’s artwork. During this period, his art became increasingly abstract, characterized by his trademark swirling patterns. It was at the Saint-Paul Asylum that Van Gogh completed one of his most celebrated artworks, The Starry Night.
Shortly after leaving the clinic and moving to Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890, Van Gogh tragically took his own life at only 37 years old. On the Artist Walk of Auvers-sur-Oise excursion on our Paris & Normandy itinerary along the Seine, visit the charming town where Van Gogh spent his final weeks at the Ravoux Inn.
Discover Arles Through an Artist’s Gaze
Walking the streets of Arles, one cannot help but feel as though they are retracing Van Gogh’s footsteps and soaking in some of the vibrant colors and beautiful scenery that so inspired him. The coiling olive trees, buzzing streets, and yellow buildings seem to be right out of one of his paintings.
See the Provençal city of Arles through the eyes of Vincent Van Gogh while sailing on the Rhône River through France on our Colors of Provence itinerary aboard our award-winning AmaKristina, or sail our Essence of Burgundy & Provence itinerary. For the latest on travel entry requirements, please click here.