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Seascape at Saintes-Maries-de-La-Mer

Painting, 1888, 50.5×64.3 cm

Description of the artwork «Seascape at Saintes-Maries-de-La-Mer»

In the summer of 1888, Vincent van Gogh lives in the South of France, in Arles, where he wrote the most famous of his paintings. In June, the artist decided to go to the sea, the little fishing village of Saintes-Maries-de-La-Mer. Vincent was hoping that the sea air would improve his frail health, which every year only worsened due to malnutrition and alcoholic libations. In a week-long visit, van Gogh took with him three of the canvas and a few sheets of paper. Picture "The sea at Saintes-Maries" became one of the two seascapeswritten by the artist during this "vacation". On the third canvas of Vincent portrayed the white village houses.

In Saintes-Maries-de-La-Mer artist most strongly admired the Mediterranean sea. It was not like the inhospitable and bleak Northern sea, which he wrote in Scheveningen. In a letter to Theo, van Gogh writes: "The Mediterranean sea, in colour like a mackerel. The same changeable. It is impossible to call it green or purple. You can't even tell that it's blue, because the next moment the light will change and it will get a gray or pink tint." In this respect we can say that "the Sea at Saintes-Maries" is one of the most impressionistic works of Vincent as he spent a lot of time to "catch" and display the correct light.

Among other things, this painting helped the researchers of van Gogh's art better understand the technique of his work. According to experts from the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, on the canvas in paint was discovered grains of sand. This has led to the conclusion that Vincent was put on the canvas a coat of paint, then it was Abduvali sand, and then the artist applied another layer before the first has time to dry. Grit filled brush across the surface of the cloth, leaving paint tracks. In addition, the experts found that Vincent was later reworked the painting in his Studio in Arles.

Apparently, this short trip has brought van Gogh and peace of mind. In another letter to his brother he writes: "One night I walked by the sea on a deserted beach. I was not happy, but sadly was not. It was... fine. A dark-blue sky dotted with clouds. Some of them were intense cobalt blue, the other bluish-white, like the milky way. In the blue depth the stars shimmered: green, yellow, white, pink... Diamonds, emeralds, lapis lazuli, rubies, sapphires. The sea was a deep ultramarine color, and the shore is purple and sometimes reddish".

Author: Evgeny Sidelnikov.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Marina

Style of art: Post-Impressionism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1888

Size: 50.5×64.3 cm

Artwork in selections: 52 selections

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