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Vincent Van Gogh Wheatfield with Crows
Wheatfield with Crows is often said to be Vincent Van Gogh's final painting; a haunting foreshadowing of his tragic and lonely death. Without doubt it is a work that can be seen as fraught and tense, the turbulence of the vortex-like skies seem to envelop the circling crows, themselves emblems of an unlucky fate. Painted in July 1890, just weeks before his suicide, Wheatfield with Crows is almost certainly not Van Gogh's final painting, and it is certainly no suicide note. Specialists and art historians have recently come to the consensus that a number of paintings postdate Wheatfield with Crows, and letters to Theo, the artist's brother, denote a feeling of buoyancy and positivity following his move from the Saint-Paul asylum to the northern area of Auvers-sur-Oise, a suburb of Paris, in May 1890. Due to the legend that circulates around it, this canvas is most of the most recognizable of Van Gogh's works, yet the dead-end path with its obvious portents is not all it seems to be.
It is undeniable that Van Gogh's shrinking landscape is undoubtedly a reflection of an all-encompassing sense of loneliness felt by the artist. Ignored by his peers and shunned by friends, Van Gogh's only consistent contact with his fellow man was through an ongoing correspondence with his brother, Theo. Yet, as with those suffering from extreme mood swings, Van Gogh was prone to sudden bouts of hope and boundless enthusiasm. Arguably Wheatfield with Crows is a reflection of this wavering sentiment; as if both lingering feelings were encased in this single vision. Often interpreted symbolically, and often to rather absurd ends, Van Gogh's canvas is simply a work of sublime and visionary balance and skill. Rather than searching for symbolic hints of his future fate – as if the artist felt the need to leave clues for an audience he never believed would ever see his works – it is far more beneficial to enjoy the stunning touches of the artist's brush, and the eye-catching and unique perspective point that seem to articulate a feeling of motion.
Certainly, the forking paths can denote one thing, and certainly the circles crows can denote another. But the most likely truth is that Van Gogh was simply depicting in his own unique manner the landscape that so captured his imagination at a certain moment in time. Whereas the winding path could easily lead to death, it could just as easily lead to the resurgence of spring, to the harvest, and to the continuation of life. Each of his works were an attempt to distract the demons inside, certainly not to allow them full rein to foreshadow his demise.
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