圣雷米精神病院和小教堂的景色(View of the Asylum and Chapel at Saint-Remy)
The gnarled olive trees, irises, lavender, and bright sunshine…Entering the Monastery of St. Paul de Mausole in St. Remy de Provence in southern France you have a feeling that you’ve seen this place before. That’s because you have.
Van Gogh’s room is reproduced at the asylum in St. Remy, France, where he lived for a year and painted over 100 paintings.
This is the “maison de sante,” not far from Arles, where Vincent Van Gogh went to rest and recover his mental health in 1889, not long after the famous incident when he cut off his ear. He stayed here roughly one year and during that time he painted anything and everything in his surroundings–143 oil paintings and more than 100 drawings including two of his most famous masterpieces, Irises and The Starry Night. The fabulous thing about visiting St. Paul de Mausole is that photos of the paintings and and information about them appear where they were painted. So for example, a photo of “Les Oliviers,” which is now in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, is posted right in front of those olive trees. You feel a little chill when you see exactly what he saw and how he interpreted it.
The imposed regimen of asylum life gave Van Gogh a bit of stability: “I feel happier here with my work than I could be outside. By staying here a good long time, I shall have learned regular habits and in the long run the result will be more order in my life.”
You’ll enjoy your trip more if you read up about Vincent. Irving Stone’s fiction classic Unknown-3Lust for Life provides a general knowledge of his story. But scholars continually interpret both his art and the health problems that may have been at the source of his mental illness. Most recently, Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith offers a very readable portrait of Van Gogh and puts forth the idea that rather than committing suicide, Van Gogh was murdered. Traveling with kids? They’ll want to read van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anhold.
星月夜（The Starry Night）
This beautiful old monastery complex, located just beside the Roman site of Glanum, is popular today because of Van Gogh's stay here in 1889-90. The site is part of Saint Remy's "Circuit Van Gogh", and the first thing you'll see as you enter is the the field of olive trees painted by Vincent - along with a panel showing his painting of the scene.
The local source at Glanum held a spiritual and healing reputation since the 4th century BC. During the more-recent Medieval times, Christian pilgrims came to invoke Valetuda, the godesse of health, and in the 11th century a Romenesqe-Provencal priory was built here.
Saint-Paul-de-Mausole became a monastery at some time in its Medieval history, with the hospital building Saint-Paul-de-Mausole later built onto the building complex.
The sturdy, two-layer Romanesque bell tower has nice pillared arches, a pyrmidal roof, and still retains an ancient sundial. The inner heart of the monastary is a lovely coister with a central garden of flowers contained in a pattern of ankle-high hedges.
Behind the monastery are the gardens, including a lovely lavender field and a few sundials.
The main point of interest here for us 20th (and 21st) century fans is that this was the home of Vincent Van Gogh during his very troubled time of May 1889 to May 1890. Vincent's small room had a windown looking out over the gardens behind the buildings.