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Vincent Van Gogh 



Hunter Simes 

Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who was born in 1853, in Groot-Zundert. Van Gogh was the eldest of his many siblings, only two of which he kept in touch with when he grew up. Growing up in a house of so many children it was hard for Van Gogh to get the attention from his parents he needed. When he was about 13 years old he was sent to boarding school and was deeply unhappy. Being alone in this boarding school really made his painting take off. His mother had always encouraged him to paint ever since he was a child. Although mpressionism was frowned upon in his boarding school, Van Gogh's deep sadness is what made his intense impressionism thrive. Van Gogh had always been interested in impressionism but it wasn't until he became a painting-dealer in paris when he started using more vibrant colors and capturing the movement and emotion in the painting. 


Van Gogh had a very unique painting style and used very interesting technique. One of Van Gogh's most noticable styles was his large brush strokes that instil emotion and movement in his works. These feelings of emotion and movement are what make Van Gogh's work post-impressionist. Post-imressionism is the reaction against the naturalism of impressionists to development emotion by using color, line, or form. Many impressionists influenced Van Gogh because he grew up around them, but Monet influenced him the most with his abrupt colors and natural themes. More importantly Van Gogh influenced generation of artists. He is what made the post-impressionist movement so large, and what ultimately bled into the expressionist movement. 

Van Gogh                                       The Impressionist 

The Potato Eaters 


The Van Gogh Museum 

At an early age Van Gogh took many intrests in many different forms of art bfore he narrowed in on his specific art form. "The Courtesan: after Eisen" is a perfect example of this period in Van Gogh's life. He was very interested in Japan and Japanese prints, so he based this off of Kesai Eisen and put his figure against a yellow background and added his own spin to it. 

The Courtesan (after Eisen)


Van Gogh Museum 

"The potato eaters" is one of Van Gogh's earliest recognized paintings, which depicts a peasant family having their dinner under an oil lamp. This was Van Gogh's most ambiotious paintings because he spent years creating sketches over and over of the family he studied. This was the first from his peasant collection he did when he was in Drenthe, Netherlands. 

"The Bedroom" is one of Van Gogh's personal favorites. He created three versions of this painting two of which are identical and the third is a smaller scale that he gave to his sister. He painted this shortly after moving into his bedroom in Arles which had been his first home by himself which he was very proud of. The painting was inspired after Van Gogh had spent two days in his bed, because he was exhausted from painting the paintings to decorate his room. 

Fourteen Sunflowers in a Vase 


National Gallery, London 

Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" collection is one of his most famous collections. He created five versions of sunflowers in a vase. It is quite interesting how a simple still life collection are some of Van Gogh's most famous paintings. 

The Bedroom 


Van Gogh Museum

By far the most well-known painting by Van Gogh is "The Starry Night". This is a painting from when Van Gogh was still living in his bedroom in Arles and looked outside his window and saw the night scene which he perfectly depicted in this masterpiece. There is a great quote that Van Gogh said about this painting: "This morning I saw the country from my window a long time ago before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big." It is interesting how he saw this view a while ago from when he started painting it, this just proves that genuis that was Vincent Van Gogh. 

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear 


Courtauld Institute of Art 

The story of "Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear" is that Van Gogh went to a brothel and asked for a girl named Rachel. He then handed her his ear and then dissapeared. Rachel then went to the cops and they went looking for the mad man. They then looked for him in his bedroom and he was laying on the bed almost dead. He was raced to the hospital where he got his ear bandaged up. This painting was completed two weeks after the incident. Shortly after the painting was completed, Van Gogh was admitted to the Arles Insane Asylum and died a year later. 

Starry Night 


Museum of Modern Art 

The Bedroom is one of my personal favorites of Van Gogh because it truly shows how much of a genuis. He can turn something as bland as a single bedroom he owned and make it a masterpiece. The reason he made this painting was because he was so proud of finally living on his own so he made three different versions of this work of art. Blue woould be the dominant color but since there is so much yellow and tan they all kind of balance out to make a perfect meld of pastel colors. This fits with the impressionist movement perfectly because you can truly feel relaxed and at ease with the colors but there is also an underlying feeling of nervous energy because of the unsettling green yellows against the blue and the position of the furniture all facing the viewer. This painting apeals to me because I love to see how people organize things and how it can really tell you about the person so seeing how Van Gogh set up his room really lets us know about how he thinks. This painting makes me think of this game I used to play as a kid that had different Van Gogh paintings to match and I really enjoyed that game. 

The Bedroom 

The Courtesan: After Eisen is a panting that I was unaware of until I did this project and found it. Van gogh was very interested in Japanese artwork so he painted this masterpiece based on the woodcut by Kesai Eisen. He used a griding technique to copy Eisen's courtesan onto Van Gogh's peiece of art. A hidden message in this is that Van Gogh put a frog and a crane and the french words for those, grue (crane) and granouille (frog), were used as slang words for prostitute. The colors of the painting are all very earthy with blues, yellows, and greens and those are what treuly dominate the painting. This painting is very appealing to me because in my mind it is two very different things combined into a very cohesive and beautiful work of art. I find it very interesting how Van Gogh took a very foreign way of painting and made it his own. He added swirls in the kimono and the pond background is classic Van Gogh. 

The Courtesan: After Eisen


Works Cited