Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Paris, June-July 1886
oil on canvas,
42.1 cm x 21.9 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
The subject could hardly be more domestic: a pot plant like this is something you expect to see on a windowsill, not in a Van Gogh painting. But he painted the flame nettle as a colour study.
He has used what are called ‘complementary colours’. For instance, the mainly rusty orange leaves are set against the contrasting blue of the background. And he has deliberately placed occasional green and red accents next to each other on the stem of the plant and elsewhere. Colour pairs of this kind are basic to the colour theory of French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). Van Gogh was a great admirer of Delacroix.