Visual Art Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Visual Art

Vincent van Gogh was a 19th-century Dutch Post-Impressionist painter. The titles that have been given to each of his three paintings are Bedroom in Arles (French: La Chambre a Arles; Dutch: Slaapkamer te Arles). The Bedroom in Arles is the painting that has been chosen for this particular paper (Dorn, 1990).

The Bedroom (French: La Chambre a coucher) was the simple title that was given by Van Gogh to his own composition. He has described three versions in the letters that have been written by him. With the help of the pictures on the right wall, these three versions can easily be differentiated (Dorn, 1990).

Van Gogh's Yellow House bedroom at 2, Place Lamartine in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhone, France has been shown in the painting. The door to the left in the painting opened into a guestroom that Van Gogh always had readied for Gauguin. The door to the right in the painting opened to the staircase that went to the upper floor. Place Lamartine and its public gardens could be seen from the front wall window (Dorn, 1990).


Bedroom in Arles is known as one of the best paintings done by Van Gogh. He himself liked this painting the most among all of his work. The use of bright and striking colours, presence of the familiar objects and a unique perspective used in the painting makes it more appealing and interesting to observe.

One of the five available versions of the painting have been shown in this paper; three of these are oil on canvas whereas two are letter sketches (see Table 1 below taken from Vincent Gallery 2012). Van Gogh has done a total of three oil paintings and this was his first one among those three. Many people feel that this is the best one among the three paintings. In fact Van Gogh himself was so excited about this painting that he had described it in as many as thirteen of his letters to his family. Because of these letters great details are available about how the painter felt about this particular painting. Currently this painting is present in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (Vincent Gallery 2012).

Table 1






Vincent's Bedroom

Sketch in Letter B22


Paris, Private collection

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles

Oil on canvas

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles

Oil on canvas

Paris, Musee d'Orsay

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles

Oil on canvas

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago

Vincent's Bedroom in Arles

Sketch in Letter 554


Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum

Because of the great details in which the painting has been mentioned and explained by Van Gogh in his letter, it can easily be visualized. Therefore, from among the three versions available of the painting pinpointing towards the possible original one is not that difficult. The painting has been described as a "size 30" (large) canvas by Van Gogh to Theo in one of his letters. Therefore, the Musee d'Orsay version can immediately be eliminated as it is a lot smaller than size 30, this leaves the Van Gogh Museum version of the painting and the Chicago version (Vincent Gallery 2012).

It has been argued by Jan Hulsker who is the Van Gogh scholar and expert on the letters that were written by Van Gogh:

Since there are very minor differences among the remaining two paintings, therefore, one of them has to be the replica that was made in Saint-Remy. It was a detail in the painting itself which confirmed the fact that the [JH] 1608 is actually an original which was painted in Arles. Vincent wrote a letter to his friend Boch ten days before the painting was made, on the 4th of October and said that he had completed the Zouave and Milliet and his portrait was hanging with them in his bedroom. Above the bed on…

Sources Used in Document:


Dorn, R. (1990). Decoration: Vincent van Goghs Werkreihe fur das Gelbe Haus in Arles. Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim, Zurich & New York.

Jan Hulsker, J. (1996). The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches; Meulenhoff, p. 367.

Pickvance, R. (1984). Van Gogh in Arles (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, p. 191.

Vincent gallery. (2012). The Paintings: Vincent's Bedroom in Arles. Accessed on March 12, 2012 from

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