Vincent went a few times to the bullfights that were held every Sunday in the Arles arena. According to Vincent, although things sometimes went wrong, it was not much of a problem for the spectators, since the amphitheatre had been designed so that the seats were high up. Vincent was impressed by the crowds that flocked to see the bullfights. On 12 April 1888, he wrote to his friend Emile Bernard:
“By the way, have seen bullfights in the arenas, or rather, simulated fights, seeing that the bulls were numerous but nobody was fighting them. But the crowd was magnificent, great multicoloured crowds. One on top of the other on 2, 3 tiers, with the effect of sun and shade and the shadow cast by the immense circle.”
That year, Vincent painted a crowd of spectators in Arena at Arles.