Many consider Van Gogh's Arles period to be the most creative of his career. Many of Van Gogh's best known works were produced during his time in this small town. View of Arles from Montmajour is one of those. Van Gogh described this drawing at length to his friend and fellow artist Émile Bernard:

An enormous stretch of flat country, a bird's eye view of it seen from the top of a hill - vineyards and fields of newly reaped wheat. All this multiplied in endless repetition, stretching away towards the horizon like the surface of a sea, bordered by the little hills of the Crau. It does not have a Japanese look, and yet it is the most Japanese thing I have done: a microscopic figure of a labor, a little train running across the wheat field is all the animation there is in it."