Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), 1890
Van Gogh’s famous painting is considered one of his most dramatic works and is often associated with his suicide, which occurred a few weeks after the painting was painted. It is almost certain that this is not Van Gogh’s last painting, contrary to what is commonly believed.
In spite of this, “Wheatfield with Crows” stands out for its vigorous strokes, the dark thunderstorm sky, which highlights the contrast with the yellow wheat, and the presence of the crows, which have been interpreted numerous ways throughout history. Death is a symbol of crows, are they not? It has become quite common today to interpret things this way. He had written in 1880 that he wished he could fly like other birds. (In this painting, none of the roads appear to lead to an exit from the endless wheatfields, where it seems that only the crows are able to escape.) Nevertheless, we must remember once again that finding “symbolic meanings” in Van Gogh’s paintings is a tendency that can lead to unfounded conclusions even though it is inviting.