In the spring of 1888, Vincent van Gogh left the Netherlands for Arles in southern France. It was a journey that would change his life and art forever. In Arles, van Gogh found the sunlight he had been searching for, and his paintings began to reflect the intense colors and emotions of his new surroundings.
One of van Gogh’s most famous paintings, “Blossoming Almond Tree,” was completed during this period. The painting captures the beauty of the almond trees in bloom, but it also contains hidden symbols and meanings.
In this article, we’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “Blossoming Almond Tree.” We’ll explore the symbolism of the painting, and we’ll learn about the events that were taking place in van Gogh’s life at the time he created it.
The Symbolism of the Almond Tree
The almond tree was a symbol of new life and hope to van Gogh. In the Bible, the almond tree is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring, and it was often used as a symbol of resurrection. For van Gogh, the blossoming almond tree represented his own rebirth after a difficult period in his life.
The painting also contains a hidden message. Van Gogh included a branch from an olive tree in the bottom left corner of the painting. Olive trees were a symbol of peace, and van Gogh was hoping for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between himself and his friend, Paul Gauguin.
The Events Leading Up to the Painting
In the months leading up to the painting, van Gogh’s mental state was deteriorating. He was plagued by anxiety and paranoid delusions. He often drank heavily, and he sometimes resorted to violence.
In February of 1888, van Gogh checked himself into a mental hospital in Saint-Remy. He was hoping to get treatment for his mental illness, but he was also hoping to find inspiration for his art.
It was during his stay at the hospital that van Gogh painted “Blossoming Almond Tree.” The painting was completed in just two days, and it is believed to be one of van Gogh’s most spontaneous and emotionally honest paintings.
After he completed the painting, van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, “It ought to give you great pleasure since nature is renewing herself in all her glory.”
Theo was the one who encouraged van Gogh to move to Arles in the first place, and he was also the one who helped van Gogh through his difficult times. Theo was the recipient of “Blossoming Almond Tree,” and the painting now hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.