Breton Women (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

Breton Women - Vincent van Gogh - 1888

Artwork Information

TitleBreton Women
ArtistVincent van Gogh
Dimensions47.5 x 62 cm
Art MovementCloisonnism
Current LocationGalleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy
Location CreatedArles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

About Breton Women

The artwork titled “Breton Women” is an exquisite example of Vincent van Gogh’s foray into the art movement known as Cloisonnism. Completed in 1888, this genre painting is a watercolor on paper, with dimensions measuring 47.5 by 62 centimeters. Van Gogh created this watercolor while in Arles, located in the Bouches-du-Rhône region of France. Currently, the piece graces the collection of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, Italy, where it stands as a testament to Van Gogh’s unique stylistic experiments during his prolific career.

The artwork portrays a group of Breton women, capturing a sense of community and daily life reflective of the region. The figures are depicted with bold outlines and flat areas of color, reminiscent of the cloisonné technique in jewelry making, from which the art movement Cloisonnism gets its name. Van Gogh’s use of vibrant hues and the juxtaposition of the figures against each other and the background speaks to his ability to harmoniously blend traditional subject matter with avant-garde artistic styles of the day. The women are adorned in traditional Breton attire, with distinct headdresses and dresses, showcasing the local fashion and cultural identity. The attention to detail and the dynamic composition invite viewers to ponder the narrative and social dynamics at play within this picturesque scene from 19th-century France.

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