The Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) is legendary for his heavy impasto application of paint, brilliant colors, and vibrant swirling brush strokes. His heavily textural and colorful painting style expressed his opinion that Impressionism did not provide one with enough freedom to convey one’s emotions. Instead, he took brush in hand and raw paint on his painter’s palette in Starry Night, for example, to illustrate the dance of light, stars, and clouds in a more expressionistic manner.
Vincent Van Gogh painted alongside Paul Gauguin in Arles for a period from October to December 1888 at Van Gogh’s Studio of the South, an creative studio he hoped would encourage other artists to visit. They worked outside as Van Gogh insisted to study the outdoors in natural light. One of his paintings, Cafe Terrace at Night, is an example of what van Gogh referred to as ‘painting in the natural state’. The thick and sketchy brush strokes evoke a raw, unrefined interpretation of the cafe setting in a vibrant selection of colors of red, orange, yellow and green.