Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

By: Mason Fox

Introduction

in this booklet, I will be summarizing the life, art, and style of the painter, Vincent van Gogh. I chose this van Gogh because of his post-impressionist painting, Starry Night. He has always been one of my favorite artists of all art history, especially the nineteenth century. He was unsucccessful throughout his life, and was even considered a madman when he comitted suicide. Unfortunately his real fame did not come until after his death, in the twentieth century. It is important to appreciate his work now, after he lived his whole life in sorrow and unhappiness and created so much art that people still view today.

Vincent Van Gogh was born on 1853 in the southern Netherlands. He was the oldest sibling of one brother, Cor, and three sisters, Elisabeth, Anna, and Willemia. His mother came from a wealthy family and his father was the son of a Catholic Minister. His mother encouraged him to paint as a young child, a hobby that he continued through the rest of his life. Throughout his childhood he was very unhappy, for example he was sent to a boarding school in Zevenbergen in 1864 where he constantly lived in loneliness. Throughout the late 1870s, he took up a position as a Minister's addistant and became heavily involved in relgion. It was not until 1883, when he was 30 years old, when he moved to Nuenen and became more involved in art. He faced hardship in this time, with his fathers death by a heart attack as well as a woman he was in love with, Margot being rushed to the hospital. These events in his life are reflected in the dark colors in his fist major work, The Potato Eaters. Throughout the following years of his life, he traveled from city to city, living in poverty and attempting to sell his art.

Life

The Potato Eaters

1885

Style

While living in Nuenen, Van Gogh often made quick sketches or paintings of the impoverished people he saw in the countryside. While he lived in this city, his father died which was reflected win his art with more dark and gloomy colors. This made his art difficult to sell as it did not match the bright, vibrant colors that were popular in impressionism at the time. Soon, he moved to Antwerp where he became more involved in his passion of art, studying it in museums and attending on Academy for art. Throughout his time at the Academy, he did not get allong with his instructors, disagreeing with their styles which were common in this century. Once impact that the Academy had on his style is that he gradually began to use more color in his paintings. 

Worn Out

1882

Woman With a Spade

1885

Style

In 1886, he moved to Paris where he bagan to paint still-life and self portraits. As exhibitions sprung up around the city in stlyes such as Neo-Classicism, Van Gogh did not follow these movements. His own, unique style developed by using an accumulation of different colored dots, which at afar, appeared to be one continuous motion. When he moved to Arles, he began to move out of his suffering that he faced earlier in his life and became facinated with the landscape. In these portraits, Gogh began to use more color than ever, much different than he had done while he was in poverty earlier in his life. Late in his life, he used thick brushstrokes along with the color, resulting in the style that is associated with Vincent van Gogh today.

Still Life with Glass of Absinthe and a Carafe

 1887

The Church at Auvers

 1890

Sower with Setting Sun

Vincent van Gogh

1888

Oil on Canvas

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background

Vincent van Gogh

1889

Oil on Canvas

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

 

Paul Gauguin's Chair

Vincent van Gogh

1888

Oil on Canvas

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Round of the Prisoners

Vincent van Gogh

1890

Oil on Canvas

Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Almond Blossom

Vincent van Gogh

1890

Oil on Canvas

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Starry Night Over the Rhone

Vincent van Gogh

1888

Oil on Canvas

 Musée d'Orsay

The Starry Night

Vincent van Gogh

1889

Oil on Canvas

Museum of Modern Art, New York City

The Starry Night is one of van Gogh's most well known paintings. He uses long brushstrokes, and the consistent use of blue in the sky and ground gives it an almost fluidlike image. The stars and the moon are enlarged, taking up most of the space of the canvas, making the structures on the ground look meaningless. The painting shows how the world may seem overwhelming, but in reality it is very small and meaningless compared to the beauty of nature.

Another well known painting created by Van Gogh is Sunflowers. In this still life painting of a vase of flowers, Van Gogh uses an array of bright, vibrant colors, a trait that was common throughout the Impressionist period. By using yellow for the flowers, vase, table, and even the background, the entire portrait seems to be held together. In the flowers, van Gogh used texture to make it appear to be as realistic as possible. 

Sunflowers

Vincent van Gogh

1889

Oil on Canvas

Van Gogh Museum of Art, Amsterdam