Arts Everyday Living: Take an Art Walk with Van Gogh-Discovering the Eternal Mediterranean Sea

Vincent van Gogh, Seascape near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Arles, June 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Title: Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1888

Artist: Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)


Imagine if you only had a few days to capture the Mediterranean Sea, its endless horizon extending beyond in varied shades of rich blue mixed with  turquoise green as well as gray, brown, and yellow. Can’t you feel the depth of the ocean beneath the waves that push towards us. Defined by thick pigment, almost crude in its application, particularly the white masses of paint in the left foreground.

While in the distance, the water grows smoother and ultimately calmer, around the three sailboats. Are they leaving or returning? Is that a fisherman maneuvering the closest vessel?

Vincent wrote  only one letter to his brother from Les-Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, where he had traveled from Arles (see: Van Gogh blog Sunday, April 28) for a week’s stay in late May and early June, 1888. In it, though, Vincent wrote that he expected to return to the fishing town, intent on creating more works of art, adding to at least six paintings and a number of drawings.

However, Vincent never returned, likely regretting a missed opportunity to express his passion for the Mediterranean Sea, which he would only see once during his lifetime.




The images featured on the Van Gogh Museum website can be downloaded for free for non-commercial use, including non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media.

The Van Gogh Museum does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the Van Gogh Museum participated in any projects utilizing the said image.


, , , ,