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Beer In Art #101: Vincent Van Gogh’s Wheat Fields

Today’s artworks are all by one of the world’s most well-known artists, Vincent Van Gogh. Given last Friday’s Session topic — wheat beers — I thought it would be fun to look at some paintings of what fields. Wheat fields were a favorite subject for Van Gogh and throughout his life he painted at least 40 artworks that included a wheat field.

One of his most famous wheat field paintings was Wheatfield with Crows, painted toward the end of Van Gogh’s life, in 1890, the same year he passed away. It was also the subject of an episode of Simon Schama’s Power of Art, a wonderful documentary series on art that I heartily recommend. In addition, it was used in a surreal sequence of a lesser know film by Akira Kurosawa called Dreams. The original is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Here’s what the Van Gogh Museum has to say about the painting:

Wheatfield with Crows is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings and probably the one most subject to speculation. It was executed in July 1890, in the last weeks of Van Gogh’s life. Many have claimed it was his last work, seeing the dramatic, cloudy sky filled with crows and the cut-off path as obvious portents of his coming end. However, since no letters are known from the period immediately preceding his death, we can only guess what his final work might really have been. Some scholars believe it was the Tree-roots, but we have no proof that this was the case.

Another one painted around the same time was Wheat Field Under Clouded Sky, also painted in 1890.

Can Gogh also executed a series of paintings called “The Wheat Field” series. All of the paintings “depict the view Van Gogh had from the window of his bedroom on the top floor of the asylum” at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence from June 1889 to May 1890. Here’s one from that series, Wheat Field, Sunrise, painted in 1890.

And here’s another one, Wheat Field with Rising Sun, from 1889.

For more about Vincent Van Gogh, Wikipedia is a good place to start, though there’s even more at the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery, which has a complete list of his works. There are also tons of links at the ArtCyclopedia and another biography at the Web Museum.

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