Not an empty room

This photo shows the room in Auberge Ravoux, Auvers, where Vincent van Gogh lay dying after he shot himself in July 1890.

The inn is now owned by a Belgian called Dominique Janssens and there was a bit of a drama in the way he came to purchase it. In 1985, he was sitting in a stationary car just outside the inn when another vehicle hit him at very high speed. He realised that he was lucky to be alive, and when he later learned about the building's connection with Van Gogh, he decided to buy it and turn it into a fitting monument to one of the world's greatest painters.

Dominique Janssens visited houses of the famous all over Europe to pick up tips on how to operate the house, and finally he got his inspiration from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam - that the room should be kept virtually empty so that people have to supply their own thoughts and images.

To me the interesting thing about the photo is that somehow it has the feel of a Van Gogh painting in it. And Dominique Janssens was right. The empty room inspires lots of imagination.

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