Madame Augustine Roulin Rocking a Cradle (La Berceuse)1889 by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh painted Augustine Roulin, the wife of Joseph Roulin, in bold, exaggerated colors against a vividly patterned background; the rope in her hands leads to a cradle. At right, the painter inscribed the title “La Berceuse,” which means both “lullaby” and “she who rocks the cradle.” Van Gogh once wrote, “I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize, and which we seek to convey by the actual radiance and vibration of our coloring.”

Notes: The chronological order of the 5 versions of this composition has invited recent scholarship.... There are 2 schools of thought regarding the chronology. The greatest uncertainty regards the question of which painting was first in the series, the Boston or Otterlo. The...

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Media: oil on canvas