The Night Cafe Van Gogh Analysis

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Van Gogh uses color in a very deliberate and effective way in The Night Café. He selects the colors not based on his visual interpretation of the room but on the psychological and emotional effects it has on its occupants. He explains to his brother Theo, in a letter, that he uses the red and green in an attempt to express the terrible passions of human nature. The use of these colors helps to illustrate the intensity of the Café de la Gare and provoke the emotions of the viewer who may relate the bar scene to alcoholism or depression. He also balances the wooden browns and yellows of the lower half of the painting with a dark wooden clock adorned with a vibrant yellow face at the top of the painting. The yellow circles expanding around the lighting fixtures and the clock balanced with the intense yellow of the floor help to illustrate how brightly the room was filled with artificial light while still making the viewer feel that no natural light is entering the room.
Caillebotte uses color very differently from Van Gogh’s painting but is just as effective in portraying his message to the viewer. Instead of filling the room with artificial light, the room is lit softly by the sun passing
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He takes a typical view of one entering a bar and almost tilts it on an axis by placing the viewer in the corner of the room. The tables lining the walls filled with what appears to be drunk customers and their tables littered with drinks adds to the depressing feel he originally intended with his color selection. Van Gogh places what appears to be a representation of himself besides the pool table all alone with nothing but the bottle. This appears to be a nod to Van Gogh’s self awareness of alcoholism. He balances this focal point with the open doorway located to the left implying an emptiness as well as forcing the viewer to wonder what lies

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