Arles: View from the Wheatfields
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Vincent van Gogh
Dutch, France, 1888
Reed and quill pens and brown ink
12 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.

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Vincent van Gogh made this drawing in varied hues of golden brown ink as a study of a painting. The vertical composition, whereby forms grow smaller and denser as the eye moves up, leads the eye across the stubble of a newly cut wheat field framed by gathered stacks of wheat. In the center, a man scythes a section of the field while a woman bundles cut wheat under her arm. The background shifts to the cityscape of Arles, where churches and densely packed houses stretch across the horizon. A railroad train and factories churning smoke into the sky signal the dawn of the machine world and its effect on traditional ways of life.

This drawing embodies many of the characteristic features of van Gogh's work: remarkably varied graphic strokes, a subject matter that comments on the human condition, a golden glow that suggests the warm light of southern France, and a balanced yet dynamic composition.