Mindfulness and Art: Rooftops in Paris

Painting of Paris by Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Rooftops in Paris, 1886. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Take 5 minutes

Spend 5 minutes sitting in silence, looking at this painting.

Some things to reflect on while looking in silence:

  • How do you feel while looking at the painting?
  • What do you notice? What is your eye drawn to?
    • The artist's lines and marks
    • The composition
    • The light
    • The shadows
    • The colours
    • The forms and shapes
    • The subject
  • What is the mood and atmosphere?
  • Why do you think the artist created the painting?
Detail of Van Gogh's painting
Detail of Van Gogh's painting

About the painting

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), Rooftops in Paris, 1886

Van Gogh moved to Paris in the spring of 1886. He painted this panoramic view of the city from Montmartre shortly afterwards. Throughout his life, Van Gogh was fascinated with skies and cloud formations. Here, the low horizon gives prominence to an expanse of grey sky. This small painting with its subdued colouring reveals how deeply connected Van Gogh was to the Naturalist tradition when he first arrived in France. Just a few months after painting it, he met Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, and his work began to assume the heightened colour and vigorous impasto that it is renowned for today.

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