Vincent Van Gogh(1853-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh(1853-1890) Vincent Van Gogh(1853-1890) Van Goghs painting career was one of the shortest but most intense in the history of art.He died at 37 years of age, only four years after he discovered his style and eight years after he even began painting.He was brought up in rural Holland as the son of a Dutch minister and took up painting only after various failures in his life had driven him to despair.He was deeply affected by all the poverty around him and wanted to be a preacher.His personality was not suited to this, but it was a sever blow to him when his licence to preach was withdrawn.
His paintingArt became his mission.First paintings were of peasants and they show a deep concern and respect for the working life and its hardships.These early pictures are coarsely rendered and painted with rugged brushstrokes in dark, earthy tones.He came to Paris in 1885 and saw the final Impressionist show.He met Pissarro, who explained the Impressionist techniques to him. Later he met Gauguin, whom he admired intensely and with whom he shared a love of strong colour and the linear strength of Japanese prints.Under Gauguin's influence, van Gogh's painting lost its heaviness and sentimentality.His colours were transformed and his brushstrokes broken into fragments.
His intense and highly-charged, nervous personality became restless. We can see this from his self-portraits of the time.These early portraits were quite Impressionist, in technique, but in mood they point way to more Expressionist work.
Van Gogh wrote that the best way to improve as a painter was to study the human figure.He was unable to afford a model, so he frequently painted self-portraits.There are thirty-five self-portraits in existence.The artists tortured personality can clearly be charted in these intensely honest self-examinations.
Van Gogh moved to the south of France and settled in Arles. He loved the people, architecture and landscape.Worked at a frenzied pace, his brushstrokes got bigger, drawings became more confident and his colours became stronger and brighter.Was supported by his brother who encouraged him to share his rented house. He encouraged Gauguin to join him.In this Yellow House he created a series of paintings of his room, hoping to impress Gaugin.However, Gauguin's stay was a disaster and the artists fought badly.In one of these fights, van Gogh attached Gauguin and later that evening cut off a piece of his own ear.Gauguin left and van Gogh suffered an increasing amount of breakdowns.
Van Goghs RoomThis is painted in the simplest manner, with pure colour and strongly outlined shapes.He painted two of everything: two pictures on the wall, two pillows, and two chairs to celebrate the arrival of a friend at the end of his months of solitude.The colours are a harmony of yellows, browns and pale blue.
The Asylum in St-RemyThe people around him regarded him as a dangerous lunatic and he signed himself into a mental asylum at St-Remy, a town near Arles, in April 1889. He spent one year there but it proved to be one of the most creative times in his life as an artist.He painted the garden of the hospital and its flowers: irises and lilacs.He also painted the nearby landscape, producing some of his most enduring images, such as Starry Night.Starry NightPainted at the St-Remy asylum in June 1889 it shows his private world of symbols.The sun appears as a friendly element but the moon and the stars represent the turbulent forces of the night that threaten the peaceful life of the village.The stars grow ever larger in the swirling sky and seem destined to crash into the earth.He includes a cypress tree, characteristic of Provence and the rocky landscape of the countryside of St-Remy. Auvers and Dr GachetVan Gogh later moved back to Paris, where he settled in a caf at Auvers under the watchful eye of Dr Gachet, a friend and patron of the arts.He worked as intensely as ever. While his colours were less brilliant, his canvases were filled with wild swirling lines.In spite of a black despair that overcame him, his paintings remained full of vigour, control and careful composition. In his paintings, yellow cornfields wave and swell under a cloud of crows and trees weaving dramatically into whirling skies of intense sun, moon and stars. Eventually van Gogh lost the battle with depression and on 27th July 1890 he shot himself in a cornfield while working at his easel .He died two days later, attended by his brother Theo and Dr Gachet.
Influence on Matisse and German ExpressionismVan Gogh became one of the most admired of all modern masters but he sold only one painting in his lifetime.His expressionist technique strongly influenced Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and his circle of Fauvist painters, as well as the German Expressionists.