Café Terraza at Night is one of the most recognized works in history.
This beautiful painting was one of the first night scenes painted by Van Gogh at the time of his stay in Arles. The painting raises a lot of questions for art lovers, from how it was made to what kind of meaning the artist wanted to convey.
In the painting, Van Gogh captures a dreamy night scene of an ordinary cafe.
Why was Café Terraza painted at night? This was the first in a series of paintings in which the artist used starry backgrounds, for which a night sky is essential. His stargazing was the result of Van Gogh's new attraction to religion.
Religion seemed to fill his void of love. Although he never explicitly mentioned a reason, in a letter to Theo, his brother, he says: "That doesn't stop me from having a terrible need for, dare I say the word, religion. So I go out at night to paint stars and I always dream of such a painting with a group of living figures".
The artist also wrote a letter to his sister in reference to it:
"I greatly enjoy painting on the spot at night. In the past they used to draw and paint the picture of the drawing during the day. But I find it better to paint the thing right away. It is quite true that I can take a blue for a green in the dark, a blue lilac for a pinkish lilac, as the nature of the hue cannot be clearly distinguished.But it is the only way to get away from the conventional black night with a poor, pale, whitish light, while in reality a mere candle alone gives us the richest yellows and oranges."
The atmosphere is reminiscent of Van Gogh's mood when he wrote that "the night is more alive and colorful than the day."
The silhouette of the starry sky is key to the total pattern of the quiet scene: the poetic idea of the work and the double lighting contrast with the night sky. In the silhouette of the floor and the adjoining windows and doors of the Café, we discover the inverted shape of the blue sky; the disks of the stars resemble the elliptical tables of the clients.
As one of the most important paintings in Van Gogh's career, this piece has been researched and studied in great detail. Letters from the time Van Gogh produced it have been reviewed for references to its development and inspiration.
Some researchers have even traveled to the region and examined the Café, which remains much the same today as it was in those days.
It is indisputable that its charm goes beyond the mysteries it contains. Van Gogh immortalized the place as he immortalized the rest of his art.
Cafe Terrace at Night can adorn the wall of your home or office and become a topic of conversation with your friends and family for years to come.
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