The Night Cafe by Vincent van Gogh

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The Night Cafe by Vincent van Gogh

Painting NameThe Night Cafe
Painter NameVincent Van Gogh
Completion Date1888
Size72.4 cm × 92.1 cm (28.5 in × 36.3 in)
Current LocationYale University Art Gallery New Haven

The gloomy artist Vincent Van Gogh was, the gloomier paintings he created. The Night Café, at first sight seems to be a casual scene of a night café but as we examine every part and object of the painting, we come to understand that this rather light painting has dark faces situated in it.

Theme of the Painting

The central figure being an old man gazing at the viewer with pale, sick face has a poor appearance. The couple on left side seems to be lost in themselves. The lonely figure beside them seems unenthusiastic about everything with his posture. On the lower right corner, the two guys also aren’t having the best buddy-time as one has lifted his hand to his forehead – a gesture of melancholy.

Though, the whole place is full of light, the feeling and environment generated by the characters is rather gloomy and dispirited. The soul of the artwork looks very close to the soul of Van Gogh’s another melancholic painting “Sorrowing Old Man”.

If we imagine all the art-works of van Gogh coming from a single world, that world is very much dark, hopeless and terrible place to live in and the artist probably lived in that world his whole life.

Above other artists, one feels Van Gogh’s paintings and subject more closely and thoroughly and that comes not from an active creation but from an intuitive force governed by his life. Maybe, such intuitive artworks, in their best outcomes, should be called true ‘artworks’.

Painting Analysis

For the painting style, we see a combination of plain brush-strokes with Van Gogh’s known style of broken brush-strokes famously used in “The Starry Night” and “Starry Night over the Rhone”. The color palette matches the colors of his first and only sold painting during his lifetime “The Red Vineyard” while the arrangement of objects, point of view and setting is close to “Bedroom in Arles”. Such comparision could make us realize how an artist’s work could repeat his ideas in aware or unaware fashion and these repeatation in this artist’s case are found in his most celebrated works only. Maybe these characteristics of color palette and settings plays a major part in their popularity and also reflects the artist’s unique style.

This painting made in artist’s recent years stands as one his most known and recognized paintings and even more than 125 years later strikes an art lover with its bright colors and gloomy appearance.


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