Café Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh's oil work Café Terrace at Night was completed in 1888. It's also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, and it was originally titled Coffeehouse, in the Evening (Café, le soir) when it was first displayed in 1891.
The picture is currently on display in Otterlo's Kröller-Müller Museum. Café Terrace at Night was painted in Arles, a charming village in the south of France, overlooking the famed Café Terrace in The Place du Forum. As in many other ancient Roman cities, Arles' Place du Forum was created as the historical city core.
Van Gogh addressed a letter to his sister after finishing Café Terrace at Night, expressing his delight:
I was interrupted precisely by the work that a new painting of the outside of a café in the evening has been giving me these past few days. On the terrace, there are little figures of people drinking. A huge yellow lantern lights the terrace, the façade, the pavement, and even projects light over the cobblestones of the street, which takes on a violet-pink tinge. The gables of the houses on a street that leads away under the blue sky studded with stars are dark blue or violet, with a green tree. Now there’s a painting of night without black. With nothing but beautiful blue, violet and green, and in these surroundings the lighted square is coloured pale sulphur, lemon green. I enormously enjoy painting on the spot at night. In the past they used to draw, and paint the picture from the drawing in the daytime. But I find that it suits me to paint the thing straightaway. It’s quite true that I may take a blue for a green in the dark, a blue lilac for a pink lilac, since you can’t make out the nature of the tone clearly. But it’s the only way of getting away from the conventional black night with a poor, pallid and whitish light, while in fact a mere candle by itself gives us the richest yellows and oranges.
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