Arles, France is a small town in the Provence region in the South of France. Best known for its prominent presences in some of Vincent Van Gogh's most popular works, it is here that Van Gogh completed paintings such as "Starry Night", "The Yellow House, "Bedroom in Arles", and many more. He arrived in Arles in 1888 and stayed for 18 months painting landscapes and real life scenes. It was here that he began to see a decline in his mental health. He frequently found himself poverty stricken, not selling a single painting, and spending time in the hospital. Although Van Gogh's time in Arles was full of illness and struggle, he created some of his most beautiful masterpieces here; masterpieces that have made lasting impressions on our western culture.
As you talk a stroll through Arles, you will be able to see the vivid inspiration and setting Van Gogh used for some of his most famous works.
1. Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum- You can see the famous café depicted in this painting if you are standing on the northeast corner of the Place du Forum. Van Gogh used his famous broad brush strokes and vibrant colors. Van Gogh was consistent with his depictions of the night sky, as the stars and sky are painted in the same style he used for Starry Night.
2. Entrance to the Public Park in Arles - There is now a monument for Van Gogh in the Jardin Été where Van Gogh painted several canvases worth of work. Along the pathway where he set up his easle, you can see a comparison of what he painted to what the path looks like today. You will notice how little the park has changed and the vivid similarity since he was there.
3. Starry Night- Perhaps Van Gogh's most famous work. In 1889, he painted this magnificent scene from his bedroom window at the asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. He admitted himself to the asylum when he came to a downfall which led him to cut off his own ear lobe. Just before sunrise he put together this masterpiece and then incorporated an "idealized village".
4. Le Jardin de l'Hotel de Dieu- Following his admission to the hospital for his declining mental health, Van Gogh also painted a scene from the courtyard. During his stay here, he painted several paintings, including a portrait of a doctor at the institution.
5. La Chambre á Arles- Van Gogh created a painting of his bedroom in the famous "yellow house" where he lived for a short time. The door to the left depicted in the painting led to a room he prepared for his friend and now well known artist Paul Gaugin. As you take a closer look into this painting, you'll notice there is a theme of pairs; two chairs, two pillows, and three sets of two paintings on the walls.
6. The Yellow House- home to the bedroom Van Gogh painted in the work previously stated. You can find find the scene today in Arles if you go to 2 Place Lamartine. The Yellow House is no longer standing due to a bombing in World War II , but you can still see Place Lamartine and visualize where the Yellow House once stood.
Arles is where Van Gogh began his famous swirling brush strokes and bold colors palettes. He left Arles to live with his brother in Auvers-Sur-Oise for the final stage of his life. He had a final burst of inspiring creativity and painted 70 canvases in the last 2 months of his life. He shot himself and died two days later on July 22, 1890. Although Van Gogh did not live in Arles for very long, in the 18 months he was there he painted over 200 canvases and made the town famous for his bold presence and whimsical work.