Thursday, March 24, 2011

Every Painting Tells a Story: Alleyway in Arles

     This painting represents a moment of discovering the timeless beauty that exists in the town of Arles, France.  Being a Vincent Van Gogh fan, I have always been intrigued by the town of Arles. It is where Vincent produced many of his masterpieces, including "Sunflowers", "Cafe Terrace", "Night Cafe", and hundreds more.  It also has a dark side, being the place where he had a mental breakdown and cut off his ear.  Visiting it was a long time goal of mine, and the opportunity had finally arrived.
        It was a sweltering 95 degrees as my sister and I  exited the train station in Arles that summer afternoon.  After looking at the map, we decided to walk from the train station to the hotel.  Although it was only a 10 minute walk, it was up a very steep hill and then down another hill.  While walking up the hill, Kate and I were in awe of the ancient architecture of the town.  We passed the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre as well as buildings that looked to be hundreds of years old. 

This is when I came upon the alleyway with the stone steps.  We paused for a moment to take in the scenery.  It was exactly the kind of image that I dreamed of seeing in France, only it wasn't a dream.  I felt that all of the struggle and drama of the day leading up to this moment was worth it.  We agreed that we had to come back to this spot later on after dropping off our bags at the hotel.  
     As I look back at this day, I think about Vincent Van Gogh's journey taken over one hundred years ago.  His trip from Paris to Arles was also a train ride, however it took him 3 days instead of the 7 hours that it took us.  He also walked from the train station to his hotel down the same road that still exists today.  He saw the same monuments and buildings that are still there and was inspired to create masterpieces that live on long after he died.  Like Van Gogh, I also aspire to create works of art that move people, and I hope that by walking down the same path as him, literally, this may give me some guidance to getting to my destination. 

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