C'est si bon!

Bonjour à tous! Je suis Vanessa, étudiante de 20 ans en France pour le moment. Je viens de Pékin, mais j'étudie à la fac à Chicago.

Hello! My name is Vanessa, a 20-year-old student in France for the moment. I come from Beijing, but I go to college in Chicago.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Van Gogh and Arles

Bonjour à tous!

I've always wanted to write about Arle's rich art historical ties, but the topic is so broad that I frankly don't know where to start. So I guess I'll start with something that interests me the most - Vincent Van Gogh's stay in Arles.

Van Gogh came to Arles in 1888, after his malcontent time in Paris, in search of warm colors that Eugene Delacroix declared to have inspired his paintings. However, Van Gogh didn't have quite enough funds to travel to Africa, where Delacroix had found his inspirations of warm colors and bright sunlight. Instead, Van Gogh decided to settle down in Arles, this small, unpretentious town in Provence, the South of France. It is here that he spent that last two years of his life, and it is also here that he shared his dream of opening the utopic "Studio of the South"with his comrades Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. It is also here that he painted the world-famous Starry Night (1889).

Ever since I got here, I've been trying to retrace Van Gogh's steps and relive his experiences some 120 years ago. Unfortunately, many original sights that Van Gogh has based his artworks on have been bombed during WWII. However, I did succeed in finding three great spots that are faithful to his paintings.

The first spot is the Cafe of the Night, reconstructed on its original site to mimic Van Gogh's painting Cafe Terrace at Night (1888). The side-by-side comparison is the first picture in this post, a collage made by me.

The second spot is the hospital garden/courtyard where Van Gogh had stayed at during his ill days. Today, the hospital is no longer in use, and has been converted into a tourist hotspot. Every day, many people pay visit to this serene garden, hoping to catch a glimpse of the peaceful sensation that touched Van Gogh back in 1889.

The third spot is the Roman arena in Arles, where Van Gogh had painted a scene of spectacle back during his stay in Arles. Even today, this Roman arena remains a hugely popular (both literally and metaphorically) tourist attraction to travelers all over the world.

That's all for now, friends! Have a wonderful weekend - for those in France, fêtez-bien lundi prochain!

Vanesa :]


Yesterday was Bastille Day/France Independence Day/National Day, and when I went to watch the firework show with my host family, I chanced upon a fourth Van Gogh artwork-lookalike!

Left: a photo I took on the bank of the Rhone river
Right: Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone (1988)

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