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Vincent Willem Van Gogh's life and art work is far beyond interesting. Read in depth and understand more about him here!

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Vincent Willem Van Gogh

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Art History Honors

By: Kerrigan Campbell

This Booklet was made in honor of Vincent Van Gogh.


This booklet is about discovering who Vincent Willem Van Gogh really is. The booklet covers some of his most interesting pieces as well as background history about him and his style. The purpose of this project is to allow the reader to be informed of who Van Gogh was, what his style/ technique is, and briefly understand his work when it is veiwed. Enjoy!

Background Biography












Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland on March 30, 1853. Before he was born, his mother had recently had a stillborn with the same name as his; Vincent. The child's gravestone was not far from their home. His father was a Protestant minister. Vin was raised in a household including five other children. As a youngster, he grew up with his parents in a small town called Groot- Zundert located in the Netherlands. It was fairly close to the Belgian borders. Growing up in his small town, his education came from the small school he attended in the village. There was a religious school he was registered into also. He was a part of a boarding school and there he learned languages such as English, French, and German. Since he was the son of a pastor and was raised in a religious atmosphere, he was determined to be a pastor before he discovered art (which was not the best outlet either, because it never provided him money except for once). Van Gogh’s mother was very encouraging towards him and his art abilities. Because of this, he drew and painted as a teenager on a regular basis.

As an adult, he constantly searched for jobs and opportunities that were not art related. Each time, he was rejected due to overzealousness. Finally, as a last resort, he dedicated his time and life towards art. He would visit museums and took classes in Brussels for his art. Here, not only did he learn to paint, but also to draw. Most of his work is self taught though. The artist's sister described him as a being with a very down-to-Earth personality. His hobbies and liking's were revolved around flowers, birds, and insects. His love for nature has an extreme impact on his art choice and style and has heavily influenced him. All his life he struggled his mental problems such as depression, fits, and breakdowns. Van Gogh did cut off his ear lobe and he was placed into an asylum prior to his death. This lead him to believe that he was an complete and utter failure in art. During his life, he never had children or even married. This man eventually passed away due to suicide when he was only the age of 37 on the date of July 29, 1890.  

Van Gogh's Style

     Van Gogh’s personality extremely influenced his art. Since he was a depressed man who was obsessive over nature, his style mainly revolved around themes like such. The colors incorporated into his pieces show his emotions towards the real world.


      Van Gogh was influenced by many people and styles. The person who was ought to influence him the most out of everyone else is Paul Gauguin. They thrived together in a household, and Paul taught Vincent about heavier brush techniques. Millions are still influenced today by the amazing work of Van Gogh. Artists like Stefan Duncan, Lee Tiller, and Vitali Komrov were drastically influenced by the work of Vincent Van Gogh.

Van Gogh's Style (continued):

His Life


  In his early years, the self-taught artist believed that to become amazing in art, you had to conquer the ability to draw and understand blacks and whites. He completed many multi-media pieces that were drawn, and they contained well-drawn imagery of figures, light, and landscape without the use of color. Van Gogh was actually unsatisfied with his work. This was until he added color, which was melancholy and dull. The majority of the work he produced was of miners and peasant farm laborers. His color use was well incorporated into this.
      In the middle of his career/life, Vincent moved to Paris. Here, he was influenced by many Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists. This turned his style and techniques around in a different direction. Impressionists used brush strokes that were broken, so Van Gogh did the same. He was introduced to a numerous amount of colors including reds, yellows, oranges, greens, and blues. With this new pallet, his work was now being produced with a lighter feel to it. Then, he discovered a Neo-Impressionist technique. This technique was pointillist, and it is very evident in his self-portrait of him wearing a hat made of straw. After this, he discovered a Japanese style which included having darker outlines. He started to allow his moods to determine the color of his work.
      His later life included him working on a vast amount of self-portraits. The portraits include a sense of introspection. Because of this, he was able to provide himself with an allowance. Around this time, he moved again and decided to live with someone. This influenced him to have heavier brush strokes. The realistic elements of his work were now being forgotten as his work followed more of an attractive, fantasy road.

When: 1885 

Where: The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

What: Oil on canvas

The Potato Eaters

When: 1889

Where: The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena

What: Oil on Canvas

The Mulberry Tree

Starry Night Over the Rhone

When: 1888

Where: The Musée d’Orsay, Paris

What: Oil on canvas


Café Terrace at Night

When: 1888

Where: The Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

What: Oil on canvas


When: 1889

Where: The Getty Center, Los Angeles

What: Oil on canvas


Irises

When: 1890

Where: The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

What: Oil on canvas


Blossoming Almond Tree

Image Summary

These photos that have been selected are only a few among the large amount of artwork produced by Van Gogh. The ones shown are some of his most popular. These photos do have some characteristics in common. They were all painted in Vincent Van Gogh’s later life. In these photos, he allowed the colors to set the tone and show the emotions being presented. In his works like the Blossoming Almond Tree and the Cafe Terrace at Night, he incorporates both bright and warm colors to show a more light and positive emotion, whereas a painting like The Potato Eaters has a dark and more intense color pallet to show a negative feeling. Most of the paintings included are inspired by nature or human situations and lean towards an Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist style/technique.

Personal Pick

Starry Night

Created in 1889, this oil-based painting is held at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
This painting speaks to me personally thru its color and flow. The Impressionists technique is simply wondrous. Also, the fact that he created this piece while being inside of an asylum is engrossing. Sometimes great things can come from bad situations, and that is truly what I love about this. From my point of view, it seems as if Van Gogh was surrounded by nature looking down and pondering about reality and the civilized life happening below him. It was all right before his eyes. The dominating color is blue. There is a variation of the shades and tints of blues used within this artwork. The aspect that appeals most to me is the fact that it can easily represent a bridge between life and death. This is symbolized by the ground (being death) and the beautiful sky (being life). This painting always has me thinking about how sometimes it is hard to face reality. You can easily be drowned away by negativity, but then also you must understand the reality of everything. This piece influences me to see the bigger picture.


“This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.”     -Van Gogh

Personal Pick

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers

This artwork is an oil on canvas and was produced in 1889. It can now be seen at The Philadelphia Museum of Art located in Philadelphia.
The painting I have chosen has a positive outlet and seems heavily influenced by nature. Because of this, I am extremely fond of it. This is one of the five pictures of sunflowers he created on canvas while living in Arles. There is one basic color used throughout this painting; yellow. He did this to demonstrate the amount of yellows there can be used within a painting. It extraordinary gazing at the shades and tints of the yellows. This piece is supposed to have an emotion feel of gratitude within it, but for me, the emotion feels extremely free. It reminds me to be a little more carefree in life and allow fate to do its job. It tells me to not worry.


"Thinking like this, but very far off, the desire comes over me to remake myself and try to have myself forgiven for the fact that my paintings are, however, almost a cry of anguish while symbolizing gratitude in the rustic sunflower.”    -Van Gogh


Cites:

  • https://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/biography.html
  • http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/vangogh/section1/
  • https://www.artble.com/artists/vincent_van_gogh/more_information/style_and_technique#style
  • https://www.vangoghgallery.com/influences/
  • http://blog.vangoghgallery.com/index.php/en/2011/07/20/top-10-van-gogh-paintings/
  • https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889
  • http://www.vggallery.com/painting/p_0456.htm
  • http://looneytunes.wikia.com/wiki/That%27s_all_Folks
  • https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0031V1962