Vincent van Gogh

Arena at Arles

Arena at Arles
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Vincent van Gogh
Painting, Oil on canvas, 73x92 cm
Origin: France, 1888

Van Gogh moved to France in 1886 and from February 1888 he was settled at Arles, in Provence, where in just 15 months he produced over 200 canvases. The subject of this painting is a bullfight at the ancient amphitheatre, and yet the arena is barely noticeable, for the main motif is the public, the colourful crowd gathered to watch the popular spectacle. Amongst the viewers we can see the artist's friends and acquaintances that he so often depicted in other canvaes. During the period when this painting was produced, Gauguin was working in Arles alongside van Gogh and the latter was much taken with his fellow artist's painting style. Note the flattened space and the replacement of individual strokes with general patches of colour, outlined with a broad dark contour. Yet in the expressiveness of the painting we see van Gogh's own powerful temperament and his deeply dramatic perception of the world. Having passed through an Impressionist phase, the artist moved on to create his own personal, intense artistic language.

Style: Post-Impressionism
Source of entry: 1931

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