Vincent Van Gogh sought peace in an asylum in the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
He lived there between May 1889 through May 1990. During this time he painted at least 15 paintings of olive trees.
In the final months of his life, Vincent Van Gogh turned to nature to seek relief from his mental turmoil and emotional distress. Olive trees had a profound significance for him. He saw the olive tree as a symbol of life, the divine, and the cycle of life.
“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.” Vincent Van Gogh