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Poppies and butterflies

Painting, May 1889, 35×25.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Poppies and butterflies»

A true master will be able to find the plot for the film even in the most simple things and phenomena. Such a master can rightly be called the van Gogh — any canvas, be it a sketch of street life or still life, filled with deep surprise and hidden delight at the beauty of nature, appears to us in various guises. Van Gogh painting "Poppies and butterflies" one of the many compositions of the great artist which draw the viewer a harmony of lines and contrasting shades. It depicts poppy flowers and a couple butterflies flying around them.

This piece the artist has written in a difficult period of his life. After a quarrel in 1888 and Gauguin, the artist lost his mental balance and turned for help to the doctors. In the spring of 1889 he was admitted into the hospital near the town of Saint-Reni, where he spent a year. During this time van Gogh struggled with bouts of depression and despair, finding salvation in the drawing: an inexhaustible source of inspiration for him were the picturesque garden, in which grew a variety of trees and flowers. It was here that he created his landscapes with olive and cypress trees, as well as numerous still lifes with flowers, including van Gogh painting, which depicts poppies and butterflies.

Art historians note the harmony of this painting traditional Japanese painting. The artist seems to have copied the traditional style of Japanese painters, depicting all the details of the maximum decorative. From afar, the painting resembles a color sketch, hastily scribbled in between working on large canvas. Rough, uneven frame, if released from under the broad brush dipped in black ink, creates a canvas, asymmetrical composition. Almost the entire right side of the painting van Gogh's "Poppies and butterflies" filled with the artist, and in the left part he left an almost empty space, untouched by paint, only in a few places.

The main role of the van Gogh painting "Poppies and butterflies" is reserved bright contrast spots, which are formed in the image of flaming red poppies, the bright green Norway maple grass and buds unblown. In the background there is the sky, which the artist is schematically depicted a few broad strokes. Two white butterflies are cabbage butterflies fluttering in the flower bed with poppies, and serve as a counterweight to the large petals and constitute with them a single whole. From the picture breathes peace, which can only be achieved during the contemplation of nature.

Van Gogh painting "Poppies and butterflies" is stored in Amsterdam at the van Gogh Museum. It became a source of inspiration for many contemporary artists and sculptors, and numerous reproductions adorn the interiors of private homes and business offices.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Still life

Style of art: Post-Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: May 1889

Size: 35×25.5 cm

Artwork in selections: 22 selections

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