Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890): Field with Irises near Arles (detail), May 1888, oil on canvas, 54 cm x 65 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam . . In the landscape, Van Gogh felt he could see a reflection of the world he knew from his collection of Japanese prints. Japanese artists used large areas of colour in their compositions, often with a sharp diagonal. They also regularly zoomed in on a detail in the foreground. Van Gogh adopted these elements in his paintings. It was just like 'a Japanese dream,' he wrote in a letter to his brother Theo.