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Places that inspired some of the most famous paintings

Albert Einstein said that he did not have a special talent but he was only passionately curious.  Certainly, lost within these lines there are some curious, yes, like you. Have you ever wondered about those places or landscapes that some of the great masters depicted in their paintings?  Or, if not, and knowing their qualities, could those places be the result of their imagination?  Don’t worry, this painting blog by Balclis will clear all your doubts.

Some landscapes in famous paintings

Café Terrace at Night, by Vincent Van Gogh

One of the most famous paintings by the Dutch artist was that he made during one of his visits to Arles, in the south of France, Café Terrace at Night (1888).

Van Gogh wrote to his sister from that terrace: “On the terrace, there are little figures of people drinking. A huge yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, the façade, the pavement, and even casts its light over the cobblestones of the street, which takes on a violet-pink tinge.”

Today there are no cobblestones, nor the chairs are the same, but it still holds the charm of knowing that we can walk around the same place where Van Gogh placed his easel.

Paul Cézanne’s Atelier

Paul Cézanne is one of the great artists who also found inspiration in the south of France, particularly in Aix-en-Provence, where he was born, raised and spent most of his life.

In the small studio he had at home, he created most of his paintings, including Still Life with Plaster Cupid, a view on how he felt at that time.

If you ever visit his home town, don’t forget to drop by his house and take a look at his studio, since it still preserves some of the original furniture, painting materials and many of the accessories he reflected in his still lifes.

Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny

In 1883, the impressionist artist Claude Monet moved to Giverny, where he carried out some of his most famous paintings, such as the series known as “The Artist’s Garden”, a Japanese-inspired garden.

As the French painter said: “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. Everything I have earned has gone into these gardens, so my heart is forever in Giverny.”

Today, this place, which of course exists, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region, with more than 500,000 people visiting it every year.

The Rowers’ Lunch, by Pierre Auguste Renoir

Maison Fournaise, a former hotel located in Île des Impressionnistes, by the Seine, became one of the favourite places for Impressionist enthusiasts, yet no one like Renoir was able to better capture its essence.

There he painted many of his pictures, portraits of the Fournaise family, landscapes of the surroundings, and especially one of his most famous works, The Rowers’ Lunch, praised for many years.

Maison Fournaise, closed at the beginning of the 20th Century, remained abandoned until 1990, when it was re-opened, this time as a restaurant and museum, thus inviting once again to experience the pleasures of that movement.

The Scream, by Edvard Munch

From 1893 to 1910, the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch carried out his best-known series, The Scream: four different versions depicting a shouting figure, in which the brush-strokes and colours stand out above all.

Munch’s walks at sunset were very frequent, as he expressed on one of his diaries in 1892: “I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence –  my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

Today, according to the papers left by the artist, the place is believed to be Valhallvegen Road, a lookout on Ekeberg hill in Oslo.

Dibble House, by Grant Wood

In 1930, the American artist Grant Wood painted the American Gothic House, also known as the Dibble House, one of the artist’s most popular works in 20th Century American art.

It shows a grumpy man next to a woman in front of a small house. The couple, although portrayed as farmers, were actually the artist’s sister and dentist.

The house, now an icon of Carpenter Gothic style, has become a model for many parodies and it is included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in Ohio and has a museum and a visitors centre.