The painting "Coal Barges" was painted by Van Gogh in August 1888 on the shore at the marina on the Rhone. The artist liked to depict nature at sunset at the end of a tiring day, it seemed to him especially beautiful. This landscape was inspired by a coal-loaded barge after rain. And he even wrote to his brother Theodore about how he was impressed by the rare effect that he observed on Ron's pier when he looked at a coal barge after a rainstorm.
From the top of the pier, he watched the barge glisten with moisture, and the river incredibly changed its color at sunset. The water in it became yellow-white and a dull gray-pearl shade, the sky became purple, with the exception of the orange strip of sunset, the city was purple. Blue and dirty white workers were seen on the deck unloading the ship.
And Van Gogh recreated this landscape that impressed him so much. He painted a yellow-green sky, which is permeated with diagonal pasty strokes of red, lilac and orange colors. In the background, the skyline depicts the silhouette of a city whose architecture is reflected on the surface of the water. Only a few buildings have a purple glow. The river is covered with small waves and displays on its surface all the beauty of the heavenly colors at sunset.
In the foreground of the canvas are coal barges on the pier of the Rhone River. Despite the late evening, the workers continue to work, unloading coal with carts to the shore. Barges and people are already immersed in darkness and painted by the artist as silhouettes in dark colors, only on one worker you can make out a green shirt.
Van Gogh often wrote ordinary working class people who work from early morning to late evening.
To date, Van Gogh's Coal Barges is in Charlton Mitchell’s private collection in Annapolis, USA.
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