Vincent van Gogh created a series of paintings while in the asylum in Saint-Remy in early June 1889. Van Gogh was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work was known for its tactile beauty and bold colors. Van Gogh had a substantial influence on 20th-century art. After years of psychological afflictions and mental illness, he died at the young age of thirty seven, due to a gunshot wound, most commonly accepted to be self- inflicted. The term Post-Impressionism was coined in 1910 by an artist and critic named Roger Fry.
The professional art historian, John Rewald was the first historian to focus on the birth of early modern art, he suggests that the Post-Impressionist movement was limited to the years between 1886 and 1892. Rewald wrote that “the term “Post-Impressionism” is not a very precise one, though a very convenient one.”
The movement has several different theories about its birth and ending periods, and to date the movement’s life span remains under discussion. The Post- Impressionist movement extended the impressionist movement while rejecting its limitations.
The artists of the movement used thick applications of paint, vivid colors and life like subject matter but they were most often inclined to distort form for expressive effect, and use unnatural color. Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses allows us to view the landscape most likely viewed by the artist while he was hospitalized for mental illness. The landscape of wheat fields and the towering cypress trees is set below the most colorful blue sky. The colors are overly vivid and far from natural.
The artist appears to draw the viewer to the sky, the most dominating element of the painting. Large brush strokes and the tactile elements of the thick application of paint add a raw beauty to the painting. The beautiful sky and the vivid gold wheat fields drew me to the painting, but most importantly was fond memories of family holidays in Cortona Italy. The cypress trees towered everywhere in Cortona, creating stretches of natural staircases, leading directly to an incredible Tuscan sky. In Tuscany my family and I marveled at the simple natural beauty of the avenues of cypress trees and the practicality of them as well.
Our first day there, we wondered lost along the mountain, perplexed at the directions provided for us: make a left at the avenue of cypress trees and a right at the row of olive trees. I can’t think of a better place to be lost in. Most interesting was that the lack of street signs and the use of the natural landmarks all seemed so perfectly reasonable and incredibly resourceful within only a few days. Upon leaving and returning home to our city filled with noise, lights and signs, I truly realized the cleverness of the use of the cypress trees as well as their natural beauty. Since our last trip the smell of rosemary and the views of the cypress tree bring me back to those wonderful memories with my family.