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Vincent van Gogh, the Artist.

by VanGoghology

I

t was not until Van Gogh was in his late twenties that he discovered his true passion for painting. He had been sketching incessantly for many years, but by twenty-seven he began to create works of art that were inspired by his surroundings, including the landscapes and people he encountered during his travels. His unique style and use of bold colors helped him to stand out in the art world.

Throughout his decade-long career, van Gogh’s contributions to art encompassed a staggering output that laid the groundwork for modern art. His mastery of both paintings and drawings is unmatched, showcasing a remarkable evolution in style and technique that continues to captivate and inspire. As we delve deeper into the life and legacy of Vincent van Gogh throughout this website, we explore not only his masterpieces and key works but also the personal struggles and enduring influence that have cemented his status as an artistic genius.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore
Vincent van Gogh

Influences and Legacy

  • Early Influences and Parisian Transformation:

    1. Initially, van Gogh’s works were characterized by dark, monotonous colors.
    2. His move to Paris in 1886 introduced him to the vibrant hues of the Impressionists and the Neo-Impressionists, significantly lightening his palette.
    3. Experimentation with broken brushstrokes and pointillism further evolved his technique, producing over twenty self-portraits that showcased his exploration of color contrasts.
  • The influence of Japanese culture and the colors of Arles are significant.

    1. Van Gogh’s fascination with Japanese art, particularly the works of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Katsushika Hokusai, and Utagawa Hiroshige, deeply influenced his style, integrating elements of simplicity and a bold use of color.
    2. The relocation to Arles in 1888 marked a pivotal period, with Provençal light and color inspiring works like ‘Café Terrace at Night’ and ‘Sunflowers’, epitomizing his vibrant and colorful style.
  • Legacy and Influence:

    1. Van Gogh’s style is celebrated for its vivid colors, emphatic brushwork, and contoured forms, influencing movements such as Expressionism, Fauvism, and German Expressionism.
    2. Contemporary artists, including Stefan Duncan, Lee Tiller, and Vitali Komarov, draw inspiration from van Gogh’s unique approach to color and form, showcasing his enduring influence across generations.

Masterpieces and Key Works

We can segment Vincent van Gogh’s artistic journey into distinct periods, each marked by unique masterpieces and key works that highlight his evolving style:

  • The Hague-Drenthe (1881–1883):

    • Notable works include “Still Life with Cabbage and Clogs,” “Beach at Scheveningen in Calm Weather,” and “Women Mending Nets in the Dunes.”.
  • Nuenen-Antwerp (1883-1886):

    • This period saw the creation of “Water Mill at Gennep” “Loom with Weaver,” and “The Potato Eaters.”.
  • Paris (1886-1888):

    • Van Gogh’s time in Paris introduced vibrant works like “Bridges across the Seine at Asnières,” “Le Moulin de la Galette,” and “Portrait of Père Tanguy.”.
  • Arles (1888-1889):

    • Masterpieces from this period include “The Yellow House,” “Starry Night Over the Rhone,” and “The Bedroom.”.
  • Saint-Rémy (1889-1890):

    • Iconic paintings such as “The Starry Night,” “Irises,” and “Wheat Field with Cypresses” were produced.
  • Auvers-sur-Oise (1890):

    • Van Gogh’s final works include “Wheat Field with Crows,” “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,”, “The Church at Auvers”, “Portrait of Adeline Ravoux,” and “Tree Roots” believed to be his last.

Self Portrait 1887 2 minThese periods collectively showcase Van Gogh’s remarkable evolution as an artist, from dark, earth-toned paintings to vibrant and emotionally charged works that continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

Despite only selling one exhibition painting during his lifetime, van Gogh’s posthumous fame underscores the disconnect between his genius and societal recognition. His feelings of loneliness, solitude, and rejection are vividly portrayed in his subjects, revealing a deeper insight into his psyche. 

Vincent’s influence extends far beyond the canvas, as his life and work continue to inspire, evidenced by numerous books, films, and exhibitions dedicated to his story.

The efforts of his friends, but largely his sister-in-law, Jo van Gogh-Bonger, were instrumental in promoting his work globally, ensuring his legacy would captivate future generations.

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