Monday, 18 November 2013

Post- Impressionism: Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) is probably one of the worlds most famous names in the history of art and we all know him as the bloke who does our portraits in the machines when we go bowling or to an arcade. He was Dutch and died very young at his own hand. He suffered from schizophrenia.

The Potato Eaters, 1885.
This shows the pre-Parisian style that Van Gogh started with. It is different to what we are used to. Still dark though which would suggest he was suffering from his illness for a long time. This is a depiction of peasants and has clear influence from the realists Millet and Courbet (think Stone breakers). It alludes to the lifestyle of peasants of whom would have eaten with the same dirty hands that they used to dig up the potatoes!

Portrait of Pere Tanguy, 1887-88.
Once in Paris he was obviously influenced by and introduced to colour and Japenese prints. The flatness found in Japanese prints influenced Van Gogh massively.

Night Cafe, 1888.
Van Gogh commented on this one that it is meant to be a depiction of the atmosphere rather than the true picture.

Starry Night, 1889.
He was no longer influenced by the impressionists, he began the expression of his (slightly cliche) tormented soul. Everything became increasingly twisted and expressive rather than impressive.

Self Portrait, 1889.

Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889.
After an argument with his friend, Paul Gaugin, he cut off his own ear. He did actually believe that painting helped regain his mental equilibrium. Here though, interestlingly, he is turning his back on his unfinished canvas and the Japanese prints that influenced him so much.

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890.
This was the last painting he ever painted before he supposedly shot himself though the chest. It is quite symbolic to think this was his last piece because, to me atleast, it seems as if the crows have been startled by a loud noise (like a gun maybe...) and are flying off. As my lecturer stated however, we can't assume this painting wouldn't have been painted had he not of killed himself. It may just be a coincidence, or not. Who knows.

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