The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh - 1889 - 73.6 × 92.3 cm Art Institute of Chicago The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh - 1889 - 73.6 × 92.3 cm Art Institute of Chicago

The Bedroom

oil on canvas • 73.6 × 92.3 cm
  • Vincent van Gogh - March 30, 1853 - July 29, 1890 Vincent van Gogh 1889

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This is one of the most famous paintings by Vincent van Gogh. It shows the artists' bedroom from the Yellow House in Arles, France, where he moved to in October 1888. That was the first time the 35-year-old artist had a home of his own, and he had immediately and enthusiastically set about decorating, painting a suite of canvases to fill the walls. Completely exhausted from the effort, he spent two-and-a-half days in bed and was then inspired to create a painting of his bedroom.

The bright colors were meant to express absolute repose or sleep. Research shows that the strongly contrasting colors we see in the work today are the result of discoloration over the years. The walls and doors, for instance, were originally purple rather than blue. The rules of perspective seem not to have been accurately applied throughout the painting, but this was made on purpose. Vincent told Theo in a letter that he had deliberately flattened the interior and left out the shadows so that his picture would resemble a Japanese print.

P.S. Curious to see more?  Check out these other famous artists' bedrooms