How Vincent Van Gogh Saw The Church (at Auvers)

This Same combination of intense expression and reasoned equilibrium is evident in his painting of the local church, which he rendered in cold tones of grayish white, the ribs of its roof looking like a bleached bones, the windows of its central tower like black holes. It seems significant that he chose to depict not the front of the church, the welcoming entrance of its main portal, but rather the closed, impenetrable back of the building surrounded by a ring of shadows. The tall windows of the apse are dark and uninviting, the road splits before the vacant looking structure to circumvent it, and the great expanse of dark, cobalt-blue sky invests the scene with a note of intense melancholy. Vincent's imagery seems to suggest that for him, the institutionalized church was empty a whited sepulcher, a place of no hope, no consolation. Yet he counters the sense of despair he has conjured up by locking the church into a symmetrically ordered setting and by offsetting the desolate colors of sky and building with the yellows and golden greens of the sunny grass, the warm ochers and browns of the sandy path, "with the pink glow of sunshine one it," and the bright touches of red in the roofs. again the creation of an aesthetic order and balance enabled him to control and communicate sensations which were perhaps too painful to endure otherwise.1