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Rond-point des Arènes 1

The amphitheatre still exists and can be visited.

Van Gogh in


  1. 20 Feb. 1888 1888
     - 8 May 1889

Vincent went to see the bullfights that were held every Sunday in the Arles arena a few times. According to Vincent, although things sometimes went awry, it was not much of a problem for the spectators, since the amphitheatre had been designed so that the seats were high up. Vincent was impressed by the crowds that flocked to see the bullfights. On 12 April 1888, he wrote to his friend Emile Bernard:

“By the way, have seen bullfights in the arenas, or rather, simulated fights, seeing that the bulls were numerous but nobody was fighting them. But the crowd was magnificent, great multicoloured crowds. One on top of the other on 2, 3 tiers, with the effect of sun and shade and the shadow cast by the immense circle.” Read the complete letter

That year, Vincent painted a crowd of spectators in Arena at Arles.

Relevant letters from Vincent

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  1. Marije Vellekoop, Roelie Zwikker

    Vincent van Gogh, tekeningen, deel 4: Arles, Saint-Rémy, Auvers-sur-Oise
    Amsterdam, 2007