Artist: Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)
Title: Undergrowth with Two Figures
Date: late June 1890
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: height: 50 cm (19.6 in); width: 100.5 cm (39.5 in)
Collection: Cincinnati Art Museum
Today, Thursday, I was privileged to attend an immersive exhibit of Vincent van Gogh’s life through his work. I had hoped to write a post on my impressions of that exhibit when I arrived home, but frankly, words fail me, and so I hope you will forgive my settling for one of my favorites of his paintings.
We were inside an everchanging exhibit that flowed through many of his most famous works and zoomed in on bits one wouldn’t ordinarily notice. I managed a few shots with my cell phone that offer some idea of the exhibition, and here is the one that best shows what we experienced:
The exhibit was such a moving, emotional experience. It brings you into touch with the man as well as his art.
We were in, above, and surrounded by his work. The powerful soundtrack of classical music was paired perfectly to the images, complementing them like fine wine does good food.
The link to that exhibit is here: Van Gogh, The Immersive Experience.
What I love about Undergrowth with Two Figures:
This very late work was painted at the end of June 1890, a few weeks before Van Gogh’s death. It was one of several paintings in Auvers-sur-Oise, a commune on the northwestern outskirts of Paris, France. This was also the place where Vincent van Gogh died from injuries suffered in an attempted suicide.
This painting is one of several he made in the last weeks of his life, in an unusually elongated double-square format. The double-square painting is a painting made on uncommonly large canvases, which have one dimension that is twice the size of the other. His need to express his art couldn’t be contained on an ordinary canvas—he saw the world with a panoramic view.
One of the things I love about this painting is the use of violet and blue in the trunks of the poplars. They are tall, immense, like bars in a window framing the courting pair. The trees stand out against the black backdrop. They have power and are the soul of the painting, even more so than the flowers and undergrowth through which the couple walks.
It is a pleasing composition, with strong brush strokes and deep, dark colors. He saw the beauty in life and painted it.
 About this painting, via Google Arts and Culture:
In a letter to his younger brother, Theo, dated June 30, 1890, van Gogh explained the structure and brilliant colors of “Undergrowth with Two Figures”: “The trunks of the violet poplars cross the landscape perpendicularly like columns,” adding “the depth of Sous Bois is blue, and under the big trunks the grass blooms with flowers in white, rose, yellow, and green.”
“Undergrowth with Two Figures” has a silvery tonality characteristic of van Gogh’s works from Auvers. His brushwork may be swift and visceral, his colors strong and biting, his emotion raw and visible, but the composition reveals no hint of psychological torment.
It is painted on a double square canvas, twice as wide as it is high. Van Gogh explored the artistic possibilities of this panoramic format in several of his last paintings. 
Credits and Attributions:
 Google Arts and Culture Contributors, Undergrowth with two Figures, Vincent van Gogh 1890, Accessed April 7, 2022.
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Vincent van Gogh – Undergrowth with Two Figures (F773).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Undergrowth_with_Two_Figures_(F773).jpg&oldid=618842665 (accessed April 8, 2022).
View of Vincent’s Starry Night, © 2022 Connie J. Jasperson, own work,