Painted in May of 1890, A vase of Roses signifies van Gogh’s valiant recovery from an illness he suffered from between February and April of that same year. Upon his recovery, van Gogh, wrote to his brother stating that the beauty of his surroundings was so compelling he had little time to rest. Van Gogh’s new found strength and inherent agitation is discreetly sown into this composition. While the viewer enjoys the poetics of the delicate bouquet of roses, delighting in their haphazard arrangement and exuberant rendering, it is difficult to comprehend that this image was painted only two months before the artist’s death. Intended for his brother Theo, van Gogh created this work as an object of decoration; however, the symbolic nature of the image cannot be denied. Drawing upon his sensitive romantic nature, van Gogh delicately suggests the lace like forms of the roses. This delicate suggestion stresses the traditional symbolism of flowers as representations of purity and mortality. As we the viewers enjoy their beauty, the rose has already begun to decay, reminding us of our own transience.