Night Café by Van Gogh creates a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere mostly owning to the softly painted light around the lamps and the wooden floor, with each chip and fragments thoroughly depicted in detail on the boards. The wallpapers on the café’s walls are more burgundy red than scarlet, which adds to the comfort of the room, as the depth of maroon color tones with the dark turquoise ceiling.
The title of the painting and the clock above the door pointing at quarter past midnight suggest that the set-up of the café is a warm, roomy place for late night visitors’ relaxation and laid-back communication. The table on the right is occupied by the two men chatting over a bottle. Their clothes, although painted with rather sloppy brush strokes looks quite tidy and plain. The man standing next to the pool table is dressed in a white suit. Light-colored smart suit catches the glance as it stands out from the rest of the setting, as well as the light-pink bouquet of flowers standing on the far table. The tables’ tops are light-colored as well, which contrasts with the rather dark walls.
The room looks tidy even with some bottles left on the tables in the left bottom corner, and the general neatness of the setting proposes the feeling of comfort and relaxation. It seems a pleasant place to be. The people in the painting are spending the late night relaxing and drinking in the café, and the mild, balanced colors of the painting do not suggest any tension or pressure to be present in the atmosphere of the setting. Van Gogh depicts the room spacious and leaves many things to the viewer’s own interpretation, as, for example, the possible stories behind the two couples sitting at the tables or the mood of two lonely men pictured at the both sides of the painting.
The artist is not quite clear as to whether or not he wants the viewer to like the characters or not, however, he clearly provokes the viewer’s interest in exploring the painting and guessing each character’s situation, mood and story.
Thus, by using mild and harmonized colors and depicting the setting roomy, spacious and neat, the artist makes the room look cozy and comfortable and the characters versatile and thought-provoking. The artist does not only make the viewer positively react to the atmosphere of the painting and like the place, but also makes the viewer interested and curious in the late night café setting pictured in this artwork.