As Vincent Van Gogh Grew Darker, His Works Did Too, Study Says

You probably know that Vincent van Gogh created a painting in the late 19th century called “Bedroom in Arles.” It depicts the Dutch artist’s electric blue quarters in what’s known as his Yellow House, located, yes, in Arles, France.

You may also know that van Gogh actually created three versions of the now iconic bedroom image — the first in October 1888, the second and third in September 1889. Van Gogh, taken with the original, decided to make the two subsequent renditions after learning that water damage threatened the integrity of the original. The three are currently on view together for the first time in North America at the Art Institute of Chicago.

What you probably don’t know, yet, is that the colors we’re accustomed to seeing — the ones we perceive in his three paintings today — tell only part of the story. The rest is hidden in the ways the colors have changed over time. Conveniently, a group of experts revealed the original colors for the first time, just last month.

Conservators working at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) employed a technology called X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to determine how van Gogh’s pigments have transformed over the past 128 years. Their findings show, not so surprisingly, that the paintings changed color over time due to natural chemical processes in the pigments, and as a result, they are virtually fading from the outside in.

At first glance they all look the same,” Francesca Casadio, an art conservation scientist at the Institute, explained to The Guardian. “But when you go deeper you can start to see that they tell us far more about the artist’s life and his quest for a home.”

If you look at the first painting now, you’ll notice —> Read More