The Bedroom is an oil on canvas work, 72 by 90 centimeters, painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1888. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886. There he came into contact with leading Impressionist painters. He also became enamored with Japanese prints, then in fashion in turn-of-century Paris. The lively art scene in Paris inspired Van Gogh to brighten up the darker, more somber palette he had used until then. This productive Parisian period ended in 1888 when Van Gogh, in search of peace and tranquility, moved to Arles in the south of France. He fell in love with the light of Provence. Here Van Gogh produced many of his best-known works, including The Bedroom. The Bedroom was one of Van Gogh's favorite paintings. He made two smaller versions of it and gave them to family members. The subject is the painter’s room in what would become known as the “yellow house” in Arles. In October 1888, his friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin came to stay there. It is a small room, mostly taken up by a narrow wooden bed. A table, two chairs and some household items surround the bed. A few small pictures hang on the walls.
In Van Gogh's words, The Bedroom was "meant to rest the brain, or, rather, the imagination.” Van Gogh covered the canvas with thick, viscous paint, emphasizing contrasts with color. Indigo walls surround the yellow bed and chairs, a bright red cover sits on the bed with lemon-green pillows. The doors are blue, the window frame is green and the mirror is white. As in the Japanese prints he admired, Van Gogh left out shadows making the bedroom seem one-dimensional. Van Gogh employed a striking use of perspective, rejecting realistic representation. Walls are skewed, items in the bedroom tilt towards the viewer and the bed is pushed to the foreground, magnified out of proportion.The room, in its instability, appears dreamlike and restless. It reflects the tormented vision of Van Gogh coming to grips with his own imagination. The first version of The Bedroom is held at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.