Field with Flowers near Arles

I love this painting for both its volatility, even recklessness, and the beauty of the result.  I love it for the fact that it hides these contradictions, leaving them to be discovered with careful viewing and a reading of history.  I love the complexity of the seemingly simple composition.  The flowers, the fields, the trees, the buildings and the sky are each portrayed differently and offer unique rewards for exploration and contemplation.  There seems to be a message too, looking from the flowers to the fields to the town – all under a crude and powerful sky.  Is he thinking about nature versus human settlements or the attractiveness of those human settlements as seen from a distance and from a field of flowers?  What of his violent, crude sky?  Is he thinking of a primal and all seeing God looking down on his pitiful struggles for peace and beauty?  All this is made far more poignant knowing that within the year he would cut part of his ear off, be hospitalized for depression, and flee Arles for Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Within two years he would be dead.

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