Since the ancient prehistoric paintings many artists have used one or another objects metaphorically in order to show a different reality, in this sense it is the iconography that explains the hidden meaning behind these objects; Despite this, on some occasions the genius of painters goes much further and with a simple object they are able to represent a person or even an artistic style, this is the case of the works that we analyze below made by Vicent Van Gogh.
In reality, and as occurs on more than one occasion, in order to understand the canvases we are analyzing here, we must know a little about the context in which the pieces were painted. In February 1888 Theo managed to get Van Gogh to retire to Arles, his brother was convinced that a time of retirement was what Van Gogh needed, however the artist was too lonely in the small town and in order to create an artists' commune he convinced Gauguin to move in with him.
Gauguin arrived in Arles in October of that same year and together with Vicent they dedicated themselves to painting the idyllic landscapes of the French countryside and a priori the idea seemed to bear fruit but the first disputes soon appeared, partly because ofVan Gogh's delicate mental situation, due to Gauguin's little patience who was an urbanite and soon tired of rural life and inpart also because the artistic conception of both painters seemed to be in continuous conflict. On the night of December 23, one of the famous discussions between the artists exceeded the limits and Vicent threatened Gauguin with a knife so that he decided to return to Paris. Van Gogh remorseful for his behavior cut off his right earlobe and had it sent to his friend
Gauguin then and irrevocably decided to return to the capital and the post-impressionist artist returned to his dreaded loneliness, perhaps due to his absence Van Gogh painted these two chairs, each one of them a true reflection of his personality –also of the pictorial- of each of them.
Van Gogh's chairis one of those in his little room in Arles, it's simple straw and wood, yellow to match his house. On the chair there is a pipe and a handkerchief containing tobacco, in the background a wooden box with his signature. On the contrary Gauguin's chair is much more complicated and elegant, the wood is treated and its shapes curve elegantly. On Gauguin's seat we find this time, a set of books as well as a lighted candle, perhaps as a prayer to God for his friend to return, to end his loneliness.