Skip to main content
1 video


With its quivering heads of golden wheat, turbulent churning clouds, and deep green cypresses, this landscape held special significance for the Dutch painter, and he painted several versions of this scene.




Image: Vincent van Gogh, 'A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889

The first time he painted it, he worked quickly outdoors. The Gallery’s version, with its rhythmic brush strokes however, is more highly finished and stylised.

It was painted in 1889 from his psychiatric hospital studio, while convalescing in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

Nature was a stimulus and solace for Van Gogh, who saw art and landscape as inseparable. In a letter to his brother in 1882 he wrote ‘sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul, as it were’.

For him, landscapes held important symbolic meaning, with the cycle of the seasons reflecting the stages of life.

Van Gogh was enthralled by the cypress trees, just as he had been by sunflowers. He wrote of them ‘it astonishes me that no one has yet done them as I see them. It’s beautiful as regards lines and proportions like an Egyptian obelisk. And the green has such a distinguished quality. It’s the dark patch in a sun-drenched landscape’.

At this time in his career, Van Gogh was shifting away from the influence of impressionism, inspired by the flatness and colour of Japanese prints and by the turn to abstraction in the art of friends like Paul Gauguin and Emil Bernard.

You might also like...

April 2020: Lake Keitele
Painted whilst in isolation, Gallen-Kallela's view of a Finnish lake offers a moment of calm
March 2020: The School of Love
A tender portrait of a young family – except this is no ordinary family
February 2020: The Supper at Emmaus
Caravaggio’s iconic painting tells this biblical story as never before
January 2020: The Baptism of Christ
This earliest surviving work by 15th-century Tuscan painter, Piero della Francesca, shows an important moment in the history of Christianity
December 2019: The Nativity at Night
Divine and earthly light illuminate Geertgen tot Sint Jans's tranquil night-time scene
November 2019: The Finding of Moses
A vast, dramatic painting telling the story of a mother’s love
October 2019: Noli me Tangere
Discover the painting that started our 'picture of the month' tradition during the Second World War
September 2019: The Healing of the Man born Blind
A small fragment of one of the most celebrated Early Renaissance paintings ever made