Road with Cypress and Star, 1890 by Vincent Van Gogh

The cypress tree was a motif that Van Gogh frequently used, although at first he struggled to depict them. Their dominant form and dark colour mode them overpowering in a landscape, and dwarfed elements around them, which can be seen here in the relationship of the tree to the small figures. The broad path that winds up the canvas with a strangely distorted perspective also dominates the figures, appearing virtually to engulf them with its shining luminescence.

The painting was exhibited with the Independents in March 1890, where it earned rare praise from Gauguin, and was given by Van Gogh to the critic Albert Aurier, Aurier was friends with Bernard who had brought Van Gogh's work to his attention and suggested that he should publish on article on the pointer. The piece appeared in January 1890 in the Symbolist magazine Mercure de France, and was full of praise for Van Gogh describing him as, 'almost always he is a symbolist ... feeling the constant urge to clothe his ideas in precise, ponderable, tangible forms, in intensely corporeal and material envelopes',