Skip to main content
Long Grass with Butterflies
Vincent van Gogh
/

Van Gogh painted this patch of meadow when he was a patient at the psychiatric hospital at Saint-Paul de Mausole, near the village of St-Rémy in the south of France. While at the hospital he made a number of sketches and paintings that look down at small areas of meadow or undergrowth.

Although there is no horizon or sky, the path near the top of the picture creates an effect of depth. In contrast to the boundary formed by the path, the remaining space is open and potentially extends beyond the sides and bottom of the canvas. The grass is painted with distinct brushstrokes of varying length, laid down in clusters like the clumps they describe.

Van Gogh’s interest in depicting nature in detail may have been encouraged by what he had read about Japanese culture, and his belief that ‘the wise Japanese man...studies a single blade of grass’. But there were also important precedents in Renaissance art and in seventeenth-century Dutch painting.

Key facts
Artist Vincent van Gogh
Artist dates 1853 - 1890
Full title Long Grass with Butterflies
Date made 1890
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 64.5 x 80.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1926
Inventory number NG4169
Location in Gallery Room 41
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo