The Asylum Garden at Arles, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh

By the end of March 1889 Van Gogh had reconciled himself to the fact that he was unable to live alone, and through correspondence with his sister Wilhelmina and Theo it is clear that he had a partial understanding of his condition. At the very least he was aware of his inabilities and tendencies towards self-harm, writing to his sister Wilhelmina, 'Everyday I am taking the remedy that the incomparable Dickens prescribes against suicide. It consists of a gloss of wine, a piece of bread, some cheese, and a pipe of tobacco.'

He continued to paint through March and April, producing several pictures of the hospital and its garden. Here his palette has once again brightened, and the garden radiates with Oriental delicacy. The scene is one of enclosure, the garden surrounded by the walls of the hospital, but rather than seeming oppressive the walled oasis appears comforting. The high viewpoint looking down into the square suggests the artist painted the scene perhaps from his bedroom on the first floor, and the inclusion of the many small people along the balcony at the rear of the painting reiterates that this is a place where the artist is not alone.