Vincent Van Gogh. Night Cafe Terrace

Night cafe terrace Painting by Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh. Night Cafe Terrace
Vincent Van Gogh. Night Cafe Terrace

Night cafe or the Last Supper? What Van Gogh painted in the painting “Night Cafe Terrace”

Van Gogh’s painting Night Cafe Terrace has been surprising and admiring the viewer for the second century now. And if ordinary fans simply admire the bewitching palette and charming cityscape, then many critics and art historians are trying to find some hidden meanings in the work. What did the impressionist paint in the painting “Night Cafe Terrace” – an ordinary evening on the street of a small French town or did he transfer the biblical Last Supper into the plot?

“Night Cafe Terrace” is drawn in one of the most iridescent and peaceful periods of Vincent’s life. In the early autumn of 1888, the artist just moved to Arles and enjoyed the comfort of the provincial hinterland. Art critics note that, despite Van Gogh’s categorical dislike for everyday subjects, he overcame himself and depicted people sitting on the cafe terrace under the starry sky.

detailed image
detailed image

Does the plot of the Night Cafe Terrace have anything to do with the famous Last Supper?

Actually unknown. Vincent himself did not leave any notes or clues, but critics have closely examined the work and have identified several similarities.

Van Gogh's Cafe at the Place du Forum in Arles
Van Gogh’s Cafe at the Place du Forum in Arles

The painting depicts a starry night and a café terrace. There are 12 people sitting at the tables and this number is equal to 12 apostles who shared his last supper with Jesus Christ. The waiter serving the customers has long dark hair and a white robe. Just like Jesus, who treated his disciples with wine and bread. Other details also refer to the biblical story. Take a look at the picture. The waiter stands against the background of a window, the frame of which is formed in the form of a cross. Above his head, like a halo, a lantern shines. And one of the visitors does not participate in the meal, he leaned against the doorway and watches what is happening from the side. Like Judas leaving dinner with the teacher.

Painting Night Cafe Terrace and Van Gogh's Cafe
Painting Night Cafe Terrace and Van Gogh’s Cafe

A weighty argument in favor of the general plot of the biblical parable and the work of Van Gogh, some art critics also call Vincent’s involvement in religion. In his younger years, the future artist dreamed of devoting himself to the church and preaching the gospel teachings everywhere, but it did not work out. After moving to Arles, Vincent wrote in letters to his older brother Theo that he had a great need for religion. And, apparently, the desire to be closer to God prompted the painter to create an amazing masterpiece with a hidden biblical motif.