Vincent Van Gogh painted several versions of Wheat Field with Cypresses in the summer of 1889 while under psychiatric care at Saint-Paul de Mausole in St-Rémy. The National Gallery’s painting, completed in September, is part of his wheat field series and features a winding path leading through cypress trees to a wheat field on a hillside.
The significance of this painting lies in the artist’s use of it to express his ideas on the meaning of life. The cycle of life is represented by the wheat fields and Van Gogh’s fondness for cypresses is clear throughout all versions of the painting. The original version, described as a study, was created on-site in late June 1889 and all three versions were exhibited at the mental asylum where he was being treated.
Van Gogh made these paintings when he was able to leave the asylum and they reflect both his longing for freedom and his fascination with natural beauty. These wheat field paintings capture an important moment in Van Gogh’s journey as an artist when he was exploring new techniques and using art as a way to express complex emotions. Today, Wheat Field with Cypresses remains one of Van Gogh’s most beloved works thanks to its striking colors, bold brushstrokes, and profound significance as a work that speaks to our deepest feelings about life itself.