Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waiting for the night to fall in Arles

It’s September. September 1888. The night is falling in Arles. Vincent Van Gogh takes a small walk from the Hôtel-Restaurant Carrel towards the banks of the Rhône river. There he sets up his easel, the box with the brushes and the paints he lays on the grass. One by one the gas lamps lighten and in Van Gogh's mind the new emerging colors that he will need start to reveal themselves: "...The sky is aquamarine, the water is royal blue, the ground is mauve. The town is blue and purple. The gas is yellow and the reflections are russet gold descending down to green-bronze. On the aquamarine field of the sky the Great Bear is a sparkling green and pink, whose discreet paleness contrasts with the brutal gold of the gas."

When darkness descends, the canvas absorbs the wet paint, layer upon layer. Colors mix, transform, then change again. A part is left to rest, another continues this seemingly endless process of transformation. And gradually as the hours pass, the night and the canvas of Van Gogh begin to share. This is no pictorial love affair, no pre-arranged marriage. It's an essential exchange, a violent take over and in the small hours of the morning when the night withdraws defeated, the canvas of Vincent Van Gogh remains victorious having captured for eternity that specific moment in time when the night had fallen in Arles.  

Listen to
Depeche Mode - Waiting for the night to fall