On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The writhing brushwork and strident colours contribute to the painting's powerful impact. Van Gogh was fascinated by the gnarled structures and changing colours of olive trees. He was also fully aware of their association with the story of Christ's Passion and the episode of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. This picture is one of at least fourteen canvases of olive trees Van Gogh painted while in the asylum at Saint-Remy, and its intense character may well reflect the artist's agitated state of mind.