Arles, March 1888 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
oil on canvas,
59.6 cm x 73.6 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
The sky was grey when Van Gogh painted this bridge. He worked in the open air more than once in this spot in the southern French city of Arles. Laundry was done in this canal, and linens have been laid out to bleach on the far bank. All that is missing are the washerwomen – who were included in an earlier version.
Van Gogh carefully organised his composition. He chose a place for his easel where he could paint the patch of land with the road in the foreground as a large diagonal leading into the left background. He had seen diagonals of this kind used in Japanese prints. Vincent and his brother Theo had accumulated a joint collection of these prints in Paris.