Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh Self PortraitVincent van Gogh lived and worked in Provence only briefly: for just over a year towards the end of his life. But he produced his very greatest art in this short time, in an incredible burst of creative fervour.

If you want to explore Provence in Vincent’s footsteps, you'll find the main sites in Arles and in nearby Saint Rémy de Provence.

Click here to read about a self-guided walk through Arles, where you can discover Café Terrace at Night and other scenes he painted, and compare them to them as they are today.

Click here to find out about the Fondation Vincent van Gogh, an art foundation in Arles inspired by his spirit. It doesn't own any of his work in its permanent collection but always has at least one painting on loan, and a larger exhibition devoted to him each summer.

van gogh walk saint remyIn Saint Rémy, the go-to site is Saint Paul de Mausole, the monastery turned psychiatric clinic where the tormented artist fled in a vain search for inner peace.

Saint Rémy also has its own self-guided walk through the surrounding countryside, pictured, past the olive groves and other landscapes van Gogh painted there.

And, if you're in Avignon, don't miss the Musée Angladon. It owns one of the very few paintings by van Gogh on permanent display in Provence – and a very fine piece it is too.



NewsLoving Vincent, a new animated film, brings Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to life and explores the mystery surrounding his suicide.

Four years in the making, it takes some of the most famous works created by van Gogh in the last year of his life and makes them move.

Every one of its nearly 65,000 frames has been hand painted in oils in the style of the Dutch master, drawing you into his hallucinatory world.

Starry Night over the Rhone and Café Terrace at Night are among the famous paintings – many of them done in Arles or Saint Rémy de Provence – which are reproduced and animated in the movie.

The story is a sort of detective thriller. A young man who sat for Vincent is on a mission to find out what drove the artist to suicide in the space of just a few weeks. He talks to a whole range of people whom van Gogh met during this period to solve the mystery.

Some art critics, such as Jonathan Jones in the British newspaper The Guardian, have attacked the movie as trivialising van Gogh's life.

However Loving Vincent looks technically really impressive, as you can see from the trailer, and we found the story behind van Gogh's tormented last year compelling. The film is now available on DVD and you can buy it here.

But the story doesn't end there. Yet another film, called At Eternity's Gate and exploring the same period in van Gogh's life, has just finished shooting on location in Arles and Auvers sur Oise.

The American actor Willem Dafoe plays Vincent. The director is the painter turned film-maker Julian Schnabel, who has previously made movies about other doomed artists.

These include Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film of the same name; the gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas (in Before Night Falls); and Jean-Dominique Bauby, a writer who suffered from locked-in syndrome, in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was nominated for four Oscars.

At Eternity's Gate "is a film about painting and a painter and their relationship to infinity," said Schnabel at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. "It is told by a painter. It contains what I felt were essential moments in his life, this is not the official history — it's my version. One that I hope could make you closer to him."

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