Tightness, darkness, dampness. Hacked people walk in a circle while the investigators watch them. We do not see faces of almost any of the prisoners, except for a few people. One of them, in the center, resembles Van Gogh himself. In this image, Vincent reflected his ideas about the place of the artist in society: "Our own true life is so wretched, the life of artists who lead a miserable existence under the exhausting burden of labor craft ...".
The life of a person, according to Van Gogh, is a similarly doomed move in a circle, sansara, from which one cannot escape. This motif is reinforced by the fact that even the outlines of stone slabs that are used to pave the prison yard are bent, and contrary to perspective, windows are turned towards the viewer.
Van Gogh painted a picture in a psychiatric clinic, where he got after an attack of mental illness. In the ward he could not write from life - he was replaced with engravings and lithographs of other artists.
The artist borrowed the plot and composition from Gustave Dore, who 18 years before had written the engraving “Ostrog”. The latter was created for the book by B. Gerrald "London". On it, Dore depicted the “parade of prisoners” in the hexagonal courtyard of the New Gate Prison. The essence of the action is that the criminals were held in front of the detectives many times so that they can remember their faces well.
Engraving "Ostrog" by Gustave Dore
Van Gogh changed the shape of the yard, added color, refused to clearly draw the texture of the brick and the faces of all the characters that the viewer could see. To show how deep the stone bag is, Van Gogh (like Dore) depicted two flying birds.
The fate of the artist
Vincent's life is extremely tragic. It is even difficult to remember at least one bright story. Parents called him after his brother, who died a year before the boy was born, which could not but affect his psyche. The severity of his father, who was a Protestant pastor, a constant lack of money, the search for his own way, mental illness, alcoholism, early death. All this fell part of Van Gogh, who eventually could not stand it and committed suicide at the age of 37.
As a reward for all the torment - glory, truth, posthumous. During the life of his paintings were not bought. If it were not for the help of Brother Theo, who traded in works of art, then Vincent’s life would have completely turned into a gloomy run in a circle from attack to attack.
Van Gogh could not really finish his job anywhere: either he threw himself or he was driven out for violent antics and a sloppy look. The painting was an escape from the depression that Van Gogh faced after failures with women, unsuccessful attempts to build a career as a dealer and missionary. Van Gogh also refused to learn from the artist, believing that he could master everything on his own. Lack of education created additional difficulties, for example, Vincent could not portray a person. And then Van Gogh decided to write the figures as something, likened to nature, as its integral part. Landscape expresses the inner perception of nature through the analogy with man. “When you draw a tree, treat it as a figure,” was the approach of Van Gogh.
The path of the artist, too, was not strewn with roses. Pictures attracted attention, but did not use demand. Disappointed and saddened, Vincent went to Arles with the intention of creating the “Workshop of the South” - a kind of fraternity of like-minded artists working for future generations. Brother Theo paid for everything. It was then that the style of Van Gogh took shape, which is known today and was described by the artist as follows: “Instead of trying to accurately depict what is before my eyes, I use color more arbitrarily, so as to express myself most fully.”
Self portrait with cut off ear and tube
In Arles, the famous incident with Gauguin occurred, when after another quarrel, Van Gogh attacked his friend with a razor in his hand, and then either as a sign of repentance, or in another attack, he cut off his earlobe. All circumstances are still unknown. However, the next day after this incident, Vincent was taken to a psychiatric hospital.
There he spent the rest of his days working tirelessly on new paintings. During the year, Van Gogh painted over 150 paintings, including such famous ones as “Starry Night” and “Wheatfield with Cypresses”.
"Wheat field with ravens"
The last canvas, which was written by Van Gogh, - "Wheat field with crows." A week after its completion, the artist, taking his camping set for the open-airs and a revolver to scare away the crows, went for a walk. But something went wrong, and instead of the birds, Vincent shot himself in the heart area. The bullet went lower than expected, so death did not occur immediately, but after 29 hours. Van Gogh himself reached the hotel, where they called the doctor and Theo.
"Sorrow will last forever." These were the last words of Van Gogh. Theo, in whose hands his brother died, himself soon fell ill with a nervous breakdown and died.