Friday, May 3, 2013

The Night Café

The Night Café by Vincent van Gogh is a painting that shows van Gogh deepest fears. Van Gogh painted in September 1888 while he was living in Arles. Earlier in the year he had moved to a room at the Café de la Gare, where the room depicted in this painting was. The Night Café is a nightmare of deep-green ceiling, blood-red walls, and discordant greens in the furniture. The bright yellow floor is tilted so that the contents of the room threaten to slide toward the viewer. The result is a terrifying experience of claustrophobic. I think that was very unique way to convey his feeling towards the café. For Van Gogh the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime. The reasons why we know the meanings behind Van Gogh’s work are because of the hundreds of letters that he wrote.     

Here are some texts from a letter describing the painting

I have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green. The room is blood red and dark yellow with a green billiard table in the middle; there are four lemon-yellow lamps with a glow of orange and green. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most alien reds and greens, in the figures of little sleeping hooligans, in the empty dreary room, in violet and blue. The blood-red and the yellow-green of the billiard table, for instance, contrast with the soft tender Louis XV green of the counter, on which there is a rose nosegay. The white clothes of the landlord, watchful in a corner of that furnace, turn lemon-yellow, or pale luminous green.


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