While he would work outdoors when he could, Van Gogh often spent the winter months indoors doing still life paintings and portraits longing for better weather to return. In a letter to his brother Theo from January of 1883, Van Gogh wrote,
“I long for the spring breezes to blow away the weariness from working indoors so long.”
Van Gogh saw the winter months as having the same effect on the poor and working class people as they have on nature. Later that same year on February 8, 1883, Van Gogh wrote the following in a letter to Theo,
“The cycle of the seasons is a thing which is strongly felt by the people. For instance, in a neighbourhood like the Geest and in those courts of almshouses or “homes of charity,” the winter is always a difficult, anxious and oppressive time, and spring is a deliverance.”
In the spring of 1887, Van Gogh captured the signs of spring and new life when he created the following still life paintings of sprouting bulbs. While he is more famous for springtime works like Almond Blossom, these early signs of spring in sprouting bulbs show the renewed sense of life that Van Gogh must have felt after a long winter.