In 1888 Vincent moved to Arles, south of France, hoping to establish an artists' colony there. He was immediately influenced by the sunlight and landscape to experiment using more vivid colours of red and yellows in his paintings, which he increasingly used symbolically to represent his own moods.
The painter Paul Gauguin joined him in October 1888. They wanted to combine their creative ideas. However, this was not a success. Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor and in the depression that followed this incident; he cut off his own left earlobe.
Nevertheless over 180 wonderful paintings come from this turbulent period. Many of them, including this one, are Vincent's best-loved works.