I have chosen to write my paper on painting titled Caf at Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Since this picture is a very popular one, I might have seen it a couple times before I actually decided to write about it. I feel warmth, streaming out of it, when I take a look at the Caf at Night. This comfortable feeling made me select this artwork.
This picture shows a cobbled street, probably somewhere in the south of Europe, at night. In the very front there is just the street, and in the left corner there is the edge of a building that is painted in dark blue. It looks like there is no light coming out of this building, and it does not seem to be very important for the view, Van Gogh caught for this image. Next to the dark building another one is shown. This building is wider and thus reaches more in the back and middle of the whole painting. Different yellow shades light the building up which shows that it is busy, people are most likely in there. Three windows, painted in a darker yellow, or orange, make the viewer feel like warm light is streaming out of them. An awning holds the light and turns all the chairs and tables, standing in front of the building, in a lit up atmosphere. There are some people sitting at several tables, a waiter is taking an order. A few tables are placed on the street, they are standing apart from the others. In front of the caf, where a few tables seem to be set out of order, a little boy is passing by. He seems to play with a kind of yoyo as he walks by. Taking look more to the right, a couple is standing ahead of a strip of buildings that is located at the other side of the road. Apart from a window behind the couple, the entire strip is dark. This window is not as light as the caf on the other side, but it implies movement behind it. Looking along the building strip, the faade is getting darker as ones view is moving to the very back of the strip, or the middle of the painting. One can imagine another couple, way back on the road and a person, walking with a dog, just reaching the very edge of the caf coming out of the dark. Just above the caf is another building showing up, covering the dark sky, the strip on the other side of the road does not seem to reach that high. Those houses allow the viewer to have a look at the incredible dark and also clear sky that is sprinkled with stars.
Caf at Night caught my eye, because I feel a certain relation to it. I would not be able to say why, but I am very sure that van Gogh painted a scene in southern Europe. When you have ever been in the south of France, living the style the people down there live, you may be able to understand why I feel that comfortable with this piece of artwork. It seems like somehow I am set back into my vacation to France couple years ago. Although it is already dark, a lot of people are still sitting outside in a caf or elsewhere relaxing and having conversations with each other. It is probably already a little bit chilly, so that ladies have sweaters around their shoulders and gentlemen unroll their shirts, but nobody lets this coolness destroy such a wonderful summer night.
As you can see by the little story, I just told you about a nice summer night in the south Europe, this picture is not just showing a caf at night for me. Reminders of few certain nights are crossing my mind when I look at Van Goghs artwork. Reminders that I do not want to miss, because they take me back to friends I once had, or still have and miss over here, in the United States of America.