Even before Van Gogh came to Arles, the artist was determined he want to capture the "virginity of nature", which he illustrated with a sketch of the nearby
beach. This drawing was made while Van Gogh was trying to paint Sunset at Montmajour. Although the painting itself is not very successful, the effort
led him to pursue a series of drawings that same week of the Arles landscape. This Olive Trees Montmajour is one of them.
This drawing demonstrate a new stage in the artist's complex relationship with nature. The lines are a lot more forceful and confident, and though incredibly detailed, there is a newfound clarity to the image. e Rycke points to the "calligraphic" quality of the drawing, which stems from the artist's passion for Japanese prints. This drawing also reveals the artist's struggle to portray nature and the importance he attached to it.