Sunflowers was completed by Vincent van Gogh in 1888; it was one of a number of paintings to feature sunflowers. But sunflowers were more than a mere decorative scheme for Vincent. As a floral emblem, the sunflower was traditionally associated with worship and constant devotion. To Vincent van Gogh, their vibrant colors and radiant forms represented the vitalizing power of the sun. Van Gogh regarded this painting as his best, and aside from a few touches of green in the stems and the blue contour lines, Vincent van Gogh worked in a restricted palette of yellow, from a pale, sunstruck tone to a ruddy ocher.
Paul Gauguin's visit to the Yellow House took on a great importance for Vincent van Gogh, and this was reflected in his work. On the following page we'll take a closer look at a self-portrait Vincent van Gogh painted around this time.