— Vincent Van Gogh Dutch post-Impressionist painter (1853-1890) 1853 - 1890
In a letter to his sister Willemien, c. 21 October 1889, from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let812/letter.html
Vincent refers in this quote to his late painting 'Ward in the hospital'
Contesto: Now I'm working on [a painting of the hospital ward https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Ward_in_the_Hospital_in_Arles.jpg. In the foreground a big black stove around which a few grey or black shapes of patients, then behind the very long ward, tiled with red with the two rows of white beds, the walls white, but a lilac or green white, and the windows with pink curtains, with green curtains, and in the background two figures of nuns in black and white. The ceiling is violet with large beams. I had read an article on Dostoevsky, who had written a book, 'Souvenirs de la maison des morts' and that spurred me on to begin work again on a large study that I'd begun in the fever ward in Arles. But it's annoying to paint figures without models. I've read another of Carmen Sylva's ideas, which is very true: when you suffer a lot – you see everybody at a great distance, and as if at the far end of an immense arena – the very voices seem to come from a long way off. I've experienced this in these crises to such a point that all the people I see then seem to me, even if I recognize them – which isn't always the case – to come from very far away and to be entirely different from what they are in reality..