The painting was made in Provence in the south of France in 1888 and is now kept at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Holland. Van Gogh was inspired by the homonymous canvas by Jean-Francois Millet, an artist to whom he referred for several of his masterpieces with the theme of the agrarian world.
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The painting was made in Provence in the south of France in 1888 and is now kept at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Holland. Another version of the painting, made in the same year and with the same subject, entitled however "the sower" is kept at the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam. To realize these works, Van Gogh was inspired by the homonymous canvas by Jean-Francois Millet, an artist to whom he referred for several of his masterpieces with the theme of the agrarian world. At the centre of the work there is the sun, which plunges in the background of the sky, colouring it with a deep and intense yellow. The ground, in the foreground is depicted with a blue, mixed with a bright purple. The farmer, busy sowing the field, is placed on the right side of the canvas. Behind him we can glimpse a part of the lush harvest, the result of his great work sacrifices. The painting is dominated by two complementary colours: violet, used to paint the sower at sunset and the field to sow, in sharp contrast with the yellow of the sky and the ears of wheat. A real exchange of colours and reality is evident. Van Gogh was the son of a Protestant pastor, so he had a good knowledge of the Bible. Most of his works use symbology that makes a precise reference to the Christian world, to which it was strongly linked. In particular, the artist was very fond of the image of the sun, which he used to call "the good God of the sun". Van Gogh paints the wheat field with a slightly rounded shape; the stroke of the brush strokes simulates the sun's rays, giving us the sensation that a beneficial, life-giving force, which involves everything, is sprung from the star. The sun is setting, says the title itself, the ground is blue like the sky but also like the sea; there is a sort of path that divides it in two. It is a clear reference to the book of Wisdom: "The sea divided into two and the Jewish people walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, towards the promised land" (the house on the left of the painting). The sower, who turns his back to the sun and goes in the opposite direction from the path, gives us an important message: we are not at sunset but at the dawn of a new day.