Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a

2/16/2021, 10:55:21 AM
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890): La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a Cradle; Augustine-Alix Pellicot Roulin, 1851–1930), 1889, Oil on canvas, 92.7 x 73.7 cm (36 1/2 x 29 in. ), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Joseph Roulin, the postmaster of Arles, became a particularly good, loyal and supporting friend to Van Gogh during his stay in Arles. To represent a man he truly admired was important to him. The family, with children ranging in age from four months to seventeen years, also gave him the opportunity to produce works of individuals in several different stages of life. Van Gogh created several La Berceuse works where postman's wife Augustine rocked her unseen cradle by a string. He labeled the group of work La Berceuse meaning "our lullaby or the woman rocking the cradle." The color and setting were intended to set the scene of a lullaby, meant to give comfort to "lonely souls." He began the portraits just before his breakdown in Arles, in December 1888, and completed them in early 1889. Van Gogh has a special intention with these paintings. He is more interested in the atmosphere of the painting than in the likeness of Madame Roulin. Augustine is a symbol of motherhood. The title and the colours, like the musical notes in a lullaby, are intended to evoke a feeling of comfort and warmth in those who see the painting. Van Gogh often used a floral motif as background during this period. His own description of the color scheme gives a sense of the challenge he faced in this work: “the reds moving through to pure orange, building up again in the flesh tones to the chromes, passing through the pinks and blending with the olive and malachite greens.”

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