Backyards in Antwerp 1885 by Vincent van Gogh
In October 1885 Von Gogh made on important trip to Amsterdam where he toured the art galleries studying Rembrandt, whose sombre tones and use of chiaroscuro he had already been influenced by, and seeing works by Aelbert Cuyp, Vermeer, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Peter Paul Rubens, and others. On his return, his brother Theo again tried to persuade him to move to Paris, but instead Van Gogh on 24 November 1885 took the train to Antwerp, and left his homeland for good. He rented a room at 194 Beeldekensstraat, and was immediately enthralled with the bustling city.
This painting was made shortly after his arrival, and shows the artist's strong individual voice starting to emerge. The departure from his home country mared a new direction for his visual language with the dark tones and realist root of his work being gradually superseded by a developing sense of pattern, colour and meaning. Here the bold commposition, use of line and distinct perspective planes anticipate the more self-confident artistic expressions that would later develop after his move to france.