Immediate surroundings

On 8 May 1889, Van Gogh reports for treatment at the asylum Saint-Paul de Mausole in Saint-Rémy, not far from Arles. When his illness permits, he works. He finds the motifs in the immediate surroundings: the enclosed cornfield that he sees from his window, the garden of the asylum, the olive groves, the cypresses and the surrounding hilly landscape.

View

This painting shows the view from his room on the first floor. The corn is still partly green and poppies and daisies are growing in the front of the field. Van Gogh is delighted with this view: ‘But what a beautiful land and what beautiful blue and what a sun. And yet I’ve only seen the garden and what I can make out through the window’.

Depiction of depth

Van Gogh has clearly struggled with the depiction of depth in the cornfield: at the bottom, the view is almost directly facing the corn and the flowers, while the middle of the field appears to be painted from a higher vantage point. The wall behind runs steeply diagonal to the right, which gives the total image a strong dynamic.