All Women's Talk

7 Places That Have Inspired Works of Art ...

By Neecey

It would be impossible to list all the places that have inspired works of art and it’s certainly not a task I would ever contemplate starting. I am however, able to pick out a few of my favorites. If you choose to pay a visit to any of these, you won’t need me to amplify why they are places that have inspired works of art.

1 The Church at Auvers

Painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1890, the Church at Auvers is amongst the many places that have inspired works of art, and the painting is currently displayed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France. The actual Church at Auvers, however, lies 27 km north of Paris in Place de l'Eglise, Auvers-sur-Oise. Reminiscent of the artist’s youth, van Gogh describes his painting of the Church at Auvers to his sister Wilhelmina in a letter dated the 5th of June 1890: “I have a larger picture of the village church — an effect in which the building appears to be violet-hued against a sky of simple deep blue colour, pure cobalt; the stained-glass windows appear as ultramarine blotches, the roof is violet and partly orange.” Van Gogh had briefly pursued an evangelical career before being dismissed, which may be why the church appears in shadow while the foreground is brightly lit.

2 Nighthawks

NighthawksSupposedly inspired by a Greenwich Village diner which has since been demolished, Edward Hopper’s painting, “Nighthawks,” is an oil on canvas painted in 1942, depicting a late-night diner alit in a dark night-time scene. One of the most recognized American paintings, Hopper said that the scene “was suggested by a restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.” And though the location has never been officially pinpointed, the former haunt is believed to be a now-vacant lot called Mulry Square in Manhattan. The piece was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for a mere $3,000 within a few months of its completion, where it still remains today.

3 Mont Sainte-Victoire

One of the greatest places that have inspired works of art is Paul Cezanne’s home in Aix-en-Provence. His later life was spent here painting various angles of this gorgeous mountainous landscape, especially the great Mont Sainte-Victoire which dominated the backdrop. In Cezanne’s style, the perception of the mountain is rendered in simple forms and shapes, while the whole of the landscape remains intact. The light and color utilized by Cezanne impress upon the viewer that the fragmented quality of the painting is, in fact, inherent in the landscape.

4 Giverny

GivernyPerhaps one of the world’s most famed landscape painters, Claude Monet came across the village of Giverny while on a train. Upon spotting it, he decided outright to rent a house there and, in 1890, he’d accumulated enough money to buy the house and the land surrounding it, where he built the most lovely of places that have inspired works of art: his Giverny gardens. Depicting its plant-entwined archways, its rectangular Clos Normand, colorful shrubs and flowers, and, of course, the water garden full of water lilies, Monet painted many an impressionist Giverny landscape, including the elegant Japanese bridge, with abounding azaleas and wisterias.

5 The Island of La Grande Jatte

The Island of La Grande JattePointillist artist, Georges Seurat found inspiration in the Island of La Grande Jatte, located at the gates of Paris, along the Seine, where he painted the famous (and very large) work entitled, “A Sunday Afternoon”. Painted over two years, starting in 1884, this is one of Seurat's most famous pieces, with a meticulous focus on the park’s landscape. In order to create its epic final piece, which stands approximately 2 by 3 meters, Seurat sketched various figures in the park, perfecting their form over weeks. Exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago, “A Sunday Afternoon” is created of tiny dots of colors which, when combined optically, the eye construes into powerful single shades or hues.

6 A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie

A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. RosalieThe famous German-American landscape painter, Albert Biertstadt, painted “A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie” in 1866. Inspired by sketches he’d drawn on an 1863 Colorado Rocky Mountain expedition, the painting portrays a storm coming over the Rockies, beneath Mount Evans near the Chicago Lakes. Rosalie Osborne Ludlow, the painting’s namesake, was Bierstadt’s friend’s wife and, at the time, his mistress. “A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie” is exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum.

7 Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s GroundsThis 1823 painting by landscape painter, John Constable, shows one of the most famed medieval churches in England, Salisbury Cathedral. After being commissioned by a close friend and the Bishop of Salisbury, John Fisher, Constable made a series of sketches of the cathedral from the bishop’s garden in 1820. The figures of Dr. Fisher and his wife were included at the bottom left of the painting, while a dark cloud hangs over the cathedral. Seemingly offended by this dark cloud, Fisher requested a “more serene sky” when he commissioned a smaller replica to be made.

Now you know some of my favorite places that have inspired works of art, I’d love to hear your picks. Please do share!

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