Prisoners Exercising (After Doré) was painted in 1890 by Vincent van Gogh, toward the end of his time in the asylum. As Vincent regained his strength, his desire to leave Saint-Rémy intensified.
He made an oil copy of Gustave Doré's print of life in prison, portraying the inmates marching slowly in an endless circle, exercising their stiff limbs. The nearly monochromatic palette and the sense of confinement van Gogh created by the splayed walls in Prisoners Exercising (After Doré) heighten the monotony of the image of futile activity, reflecting Vincent's own frustration and discontent.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American painting, including Publication International, Ltd.'s, Monet and Impressionism. Other titles include Sunflowers, Monet's Garden in Art, Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers, and Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives. Ms. Mancoff is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.