A long hallway stretches almost all the way to the end of the viewer's perspective. One solitary figure about halfway down the hall makes a quick exit from our view as it ducks into an abutting room. The hallway is colored in somber tones--browns, greens, and muddy yellows make up most of the coloration. These colors make the hallway appear as though it is composed of awkward rivers flowing across the plane of the floor, suggesting a sort of moat or barricade across which travel might be difficult. Additionally, the archways are not stylistically consistent--the arch closest to the viewer is more plain, more bleak, and seems to cordon off the viewer's end of the hall from the remainder of the corridor.


A Corridor in the Asylum (1889) depicts the asylum in St. Rémy, where Van Gogh spent a year towards the end of his life. The picture evokes feelings of loneliness and separation, evinced most effectively by the one tiny figure glimpsed in the distance.

This sad and lonesome depiction of a care-taking facility invites the viewer to think about the influence of a patient's physical environment on his or her mental health. How important is company and camaraderie for the healing process? Environments are evocative. To what extent does the physicality of an institution influence and affect its patients?

Primary Source

Ronald Pickvance. Van Gogh in Saint Rémy and Auvers. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Harry N. Abrams (1986)