The Reproduction Process

Colors used:
Branches with Almond Blossom

Van Gogh’s Branches with Almond Blossom is one of some variations on the theme of the almond tree in bloom, painted between 1888 and 1890 during his time in Arles.

The artist arrived in the Southern French town to recuperate after a tumultuous time in Paris where he had familiarized himself with the work of the Impressionists and was schooled in their methods and styles. Branches with Almond Blossom is a humble and gentle work, made as gifts for the newly born son of his beloved brother Theo. This reproduction of a Spring scene is a loving expression of the hope and possibilities for renewal that the artist saw in the buds of blossoming trees.

This period, the most productive of his short career, was driven by his adoration of the effects of light that he noticed in the French countryside. The lights of the day - and the nights - in Provence inspired Van Gogh to see in the countryside a visual parallel with the Japanese woodblocks and aesthetic styles that were taking the intellectual salons of Western and Central European by storm. Japonism, the stark nuances of color, the compositions built on contrasting forces, and the vivid interplay between light and shade, can be seen as a dominant influence throughout Van Gogh’s later work.

The artist produced studied reproductions of a number of Japanese paintings to study their form and structure. Branches with Almond Blossom retains many of the formal qualities of Hiroshige's work, who was one of the great masters of the woodcut print technique known as Ukiyo-e. The flat plane of the perspective, the intricate uniformity of the patterns, and the shadow-less serenity of the branches all contrast significantly with the anguished brush-strokes of much of Van Gogh’s work of the period, standing as a beacon of hope and celebrating the arrival of life.

Van Gogh used an unusual viewpoint and composition for this particular painting. He would mainly paint trees from his point of view – as landscapes are commonly painted – and had experimented with views from above. But in Branches with Almond Blossom, the Post-Impressionist looks up at the sky, entirely excluding the horizon and land. The soft blue sky resembles the calm and cool waters of a pond. The light blossoms are like flickers of light upon the canvas.

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Branches with Almond Blossom - Van Gogh Museum

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Branches with Almond Blossom Vincent Van Gogh

Item Number: 16814234 show sizes in cm
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