Night cafe

Vincent van Gogh • Painting, September 1888, 72.4×92.1 cm
Digital copy: 1.4 MB
1920 × 1516 px • JPEG
44.9 × 35.3 cm • 109 dpi
32.5 × 25.7 cm • 150 dpi
16.3 × 12.8 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene, Interior
Style of art: Post-Impressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: September 1888
Size: 72.4×92.1 cm
Artwork in selections: 33 selections
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Description of the artwork «Night cafe»

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh "Night cafe" sends us to his other work with a similar name - “Night cafe in Arles". And, despite the fact that these two canvases were painted in the same period (moreover, in one month), they are absolutely, almost diametrically different in mood. One of Vincent’s most famous works with a summer terrace under the stars is permeated with a sense of serenity and tranquility: warm yellow and orange light in the windows, clear high sky, people strolling along the street and sitting at tables ... And in this “Night Cafe” the picture is completely different.

Here, Van Gogh again assigns the role of an outside observer to the viewer, but the look at the cafe’s interior is directed downward and the perspective is intentionally distorted. A clock hanging on the wall shows the beginning of the first night: at that time, it was hardly possible to meet a decent audience in such an institution. Unlike the people at the tables of the summer terrace, some of the visitors here seemed to fall asleep on the spot, having drunk too much. And the whole scene looks like we are looking at it through the eyes of a very drunk person. The walls surround from all sides, crush and prevent breathing, and at the same time, as if "parting".

But the most important thing that distinguishes these two paintings is the color scheme, which sets the mood. Despite Van Gogh's typical Arlesian works, the abundance of yellow and halos of light around the lamps, the Night Café lacks a feeling of comfort and tranquility. In a letter to his brother, Vincent wrote about this picture as follows: “I tried to portray a place where a person destroys himself, goes crazy or becomes a criminal. I wanted to express the pernicious passion that drives people with the help of red and green colors. " In fact, red rarely became dominant in the artist’s works. And a similar dirty bloody tint next time will be the backdrop for his "Self portrait with bandaged ear and tube". There is alsosecond option “Night Cafe”, in which the image is even flatter and the colors are even more poisonous.

In the "Night Cafe" Vincent depicted the real-life interior of a small forecourt institution that belonged to the spouses Gino. The artist rented a room from them when he first settled in Arles, and later painted portraits of both.Madame Gino and her harshspouse persuaded to pose for Paul Gauguin, who joined Van Gogh. And although the artists worked on portraits of Madame Gino at the same time, the finished paintings were very different. Van Gogh is the mistress of the cafebecame the embodiment a kind of bright image of a pensive beautiful lady. Gauguin did not miss the opportunity to make fun of his friend and rival a little: knowing that it is difficult for Vincent to write “from the head”, he is from memory reproduced the interior of the cafe, used the same red and green shades and placed Madame Gino in the foreground, giving her image a shade of perversity.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova