I immediately recognized some of the landscapes Van Gogh had painted right from this window. The Asylum walls are still present the way they appeared one hundred and twenty two years ago. (I've included one here).
It's fascinating to observe the license Van Gogh would take with his composition and placement of elements within the design of the painting; what he chose to edit, enhance, move, delete, etc. These bars couldn't restrain the genius mind, nor restrict him in his quest for freedom of expression.
For a year and a half he stood here looking out from these barred windows, with plenty of time to contemplate and imagine. This was his space: to live, eat, breath, create. His space to seek inspiration, and dream.
He'd paint all day, until exhausted, then he'd yearn for a peaceful, silent night. He'd pass the evening hours listening to the sounds of fellow inmates howling at the moon, (or the purely make believe). I'm sure that to Van Gogh, sleep, was a luxury.
For Van Gogh, this was the edge; and it was sharper than the blade he used to mutilate himself.