“It strikes the eye from afar. The Irises are a beautiful study full of air and life." says Theo, Van Gogh's brother, who is extremely taken with the painting. This painting conjures up a cold atmosphere by the large-area magnificent violet iris petals in spite of the warm-toned marigolds in the background. The sword-like leaves seems to move in a cold wind like snakes.
Actually, Vincent van Gogh painted Irises shortly after he voluntarily admitted himself into the St.-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, France. A place is abuzz with terrible cries and howls like beasts in a menagerie day and night, for there are some patients very seriously ill. There is no doubt that whoever goes there would feel panic-stricken. When Vincent van Gogh was sent there, he must be afraid of being these seriously patient. He had to paint to eliminate the horror in his heart.
During the first month of his confinement, Vincent van Gogh was permitted to work in the men's quarters, the only area he can continue to paint. Irises were painted in the garden to the south of the only area. Vincent van Gogh told his brother that he got along well with his fellows, they liked to see him painting, and they would leave if he required.
Digging deeper into this oil painting , we will find a white iris standing out of the violet ones, given what happened during that time and the atmosphere expressed in this painting, people guess that the painter want to express his loneness, however, this is just a subjective speculation, neither Vincent van Gogh nor his brother ever put forth this opinion.