Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Antwerp, December 1885-February 1886
oil on canvas,
43.7 cm x 33.7 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
In Antwerp, Van Gogh painted a number of cityscapes, including this one. These plastered rear facades were less attractive than the house fronts, but Van Gogh was mainly interested in the atmosphere. He had a weakness for houses like these, packed together in the poor districts of the city.
Van Gogh himself lived in such an area: he rented a small room at Lange Beeldekensstraat 194. This is the rear view of that house. The painting makes a grim impression, reinforced by the thin layer of snow on the rooftops. In some places, it looks as if the snow is already melting.