Thursday, January 20, 2005

Vincent's Colours

...My eyes are still tired by then I had a new idea in my head and here is the sketch of it. Another size 30 canvas. This time it's just simply my bedroom, only here colour is to do everything, and giving by its simplification a grander style to things, is to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general. In a word, looking at the picture ought to rest the brain, or rather the imagination.
The walls are pale violet.
The floor is of red tiles.
The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish-citron.
The coverlet scarlet.
The window green.
The toilet table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that is all-there is nothing in this room with its closed shutters.
The broad lines of the furniture again must express inviolable rest. Portraits on the walls, and a mirror and a towel and some clothes.
The frame-as there is no white in the picture-will be white.
This by way of revenge for the enforced rest I was obliged to take.
I shall work on it again all day, but you see how simple the conception is. The shadows and the cast shadows are suppressed; it is painted in free flat tints like the Japanese prints. It is going to be a contrast to, for instance, the "Tarascon Diligence" and the "Night Cafe".

-Letter#554, written by Vincent to Theo. Vincent had just spent a spell at the hospital and was mad furious at the "repos" he was "forced"to take there...and at its white walls. He is describing "Room in Arles" later to be recognized as one of his greatest masterpieces, and indeed a portrait of serenity and contentment.