Roses by Vincent van Gogh
Roses by Vincent van Gogh

Roses, 1890

Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh painted this glorious bouquet of roses in full bloom shortly before he was released from the asylum at Saint-Rémy, where he had himself committed for mental illness. Blossoming plants signaled birth and renewal to the artist — the fresh spring green of the painting’s background expresses new life. The roses’ pigments have faded to white, but the original pink would have vibrated against the bright green. The undulating brushstrokes give us a visceral sense of the energy with which Van Gogh attacked his work — he applied the paint so thickly, it took a month to dry.

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