Cypresses - by Vincent van Gogh

When Van Gogh was staying in Saint-Remey, he started working on this series of Provencal subjects. He tried to make pen-and-ink drawings after the canvases, which he sent to Theo to give him an idea of his recent work, in which he had been trying to project a strong style. He did the drawings on quite smooth paper that is unique in his oeuvre. The texture of the paper allowed the pen to glide over it fluidly, sometimes perhaps too fluidly: Van Gogh was not pleased with the final results because in his opinion they lacked character and strength. Nevertheless the drawings are really impressive.

In this drawing, Cypresses, van Gogh uses lots of curved lines which describe the shapes and movement of the trees, grasses and clouds. The broadness of the lines, as well as the darkness of the ink show the solidity of the tree against the softness of the sky, and the flimsiness of the grass is somewhere between the two.