Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Paris, March-April 1887
oil on canvas,
45.2 cm x 81.4 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
In Paris, Van Gogh frequently painted the picturesque windmills on the hill of Montmartre. In his day, Montmartre was still a partly rural area with allotment gardens and farms.
Van Gogh hoped that this subject would sell well. He took the fresh, pure colours – the white of the fields and bright blue of the sheds – from contemporary French art. To render sunlight in this landscape, Van Gogh used highly diluted oil paint. This resulted in a translucent, matt effect. He chose a canvas with an unusual, elongated shape. That creates an effect like that of a wide-angle lens. The paths and gardens fan out, drawing our eyes toward the horizon.