When Vincent painted this painting he was hospitalized in Saint-Remy. He only painted when his condition was stable. This painting reflects the feeling Vincent had at the time; depressed and very uncertain about his work and future.
Vincent describes his intention with this painting in a letter to his brother Theo.
“My intention is to express the peculiar sentiment of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Both in Holland and England, this is always more or less religious, in fact, it is that way everywhere, at least in Brittany, and in the Alsace, too. Now one need not agree exactly with the form of that religious sentiment, but if it is sincere, it is a feeling one must respect. And personally, I can fully share it and even need it, at least to a certain extent, just the way I have a feeling for such a little old man and a belief in quelque chose là-haut, even though I am not exactly sure how or what it may be.”
(Letter to Theo van Gogh, The Hague, c. 12-18 December 1882)
Current Location: Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, The Netherlands