Van Gogh - Cypresses

Curatorial Statement

Curated by: Angela Bernabeo, Prasanna Lakshmi Guduru, Jessica Metzner, Dayna Pessoa, and Kristen Rivas

Vincent van Gogh's fascination with the Mediterranean cypress tree, often associated with mourning and death, took an unexpected turn in his art. Instead of depicting the darkness that these trees traditionally represented, van Gogh saw the cypresses as a subject of astonishment and captured their essence in a series of paintings (Solomon 2023).

Van Gogh painted cypresses for spiritual connection and inspiration from nature. The swirling patterns and vibrant colors in his paintings conveyed his emotional turbulence, offering a visual representation of his inner struggles. The evergreen nature of cypresses symbolized both eternal life and the melancholy cycle of life and death, reflecting van Gogh's complex views on mortality. In his asylum paintings, the solitary cypresses also served as an expression of isolation, symbolizing his loneliness and struggles during his stay in Saint-Remy (Solomon 2023).

Solomon, D. (2023, May 11). Van Gogh and the consolation of trees. The New York Times.