Wheatfield with Crows

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File:A Vincent Van Gogh.jpg
Wheatfield with Crows, 1890. 50.2 cm x 103 cm (19.9 in x 40.6 in). Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Wheatfield with Crows is a July 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh. It is commonly stated that this was van Gogh's last painting. However, art historians are uncertain as to which painting was van Gogh's last, as no clear historical records exist. The evidence of his letters suggests that Wheatfield with Crows was completed around 10 July and predates such paintings as Auvers Town Hall on 14 July 1890 and Daubigny's Garden.<ref name="Letter"/<ref name= "VGM"/> Moreover, Jan Hulsker points out that a painting of harvested wheat, Field with Stacks of Wheat (F771), must be a later painting.<ref name= "Hulsker">Template:Cite book</ref>


The Van Gogh Museum's Wheatfield with Crows was painted in July 1890, in the last weeks of van Gogh’s life. Many have claimed it as his last painting, while it is also possible Tree Roots, or the previously mentioned Daubigny's Garden, was his final painting.

Wheat Field with Crows, made on a double-square canvas, depicts a dramatic, cloudy sky filled with crows over a wheat.<ref name= "VGM">Template:Cite web</ref> A sense of isolation is heightened by a central path leading nowhere and by the uncertain direction of flight of the crows. The wind-swept wheat field fills two thirds of the canvas. Jules Michelet, one of van Gogh's favorite authors, wrote of the crow: "They interest themselves in everything, and observe everything. The ancients, who lived far more completely than ourselves in and with nature, found it no small profit to follow, in a hundred obscure things where human experience as yet affords no light, the directions of so prudent and sage a bird."<ref name="Edwards149">Template:Cite book</ref> Kathleen Erickson finds the painting as expressing both sorrow and a sense of his life coming to an end.<ref name="Erickson97">Template:Cite book</ref> The crows are used by van Gogh as a symbol of death and rebirth, or of resurrection. The road, in contrasting colors of red and green, is said by Erickson to be a metaphor for a sermon he gave based on Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" where the pilgrim is sorrowful that the road is so long, yet rejoices because the Eternal City waits at the journey's end.<ref name="Erickson97">Template:Cite book</ref>

About 10 July 1890 van Gogh wrote to Theo van Gogh and Jo Bonger, saying that he had painted another three large canvases at Auvers since visiting them in Paris on 6 July.<ref name="Letter">Template:Cite web</ref> Two of these are described as immense stretches of wheatfields under turbulent skies, thought to be Wheatfield under Clouded Sky and Wheatfield with Crows, and the third is Daubigny's Garden. He wrote that he had made a point of expressing sadness, later adding "extreme loneliness" (de la solitude extrême), but also says he believes the canvases show what he considers healthy and fortifying about the countryside (and adds that he intended to take them to Paris as soon as possible):Template:Quote Walther and Metzger refer to a June 1880 letter of van Gogh's, in which he compared himself to a bird in a cage, and remark:Template:Quote

These painting are all examples of van Gogh's elongated double-square canvases, used exclusively by him in the last few weeks of his life, in June and July 1890.

The painting is held in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, as is Wheatfield under Clouded Sky.

See also

For other paintings of wheat fields by Van Gogh see Wheat Fields (Van Gogh series).



Further reading

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