Monday, February 01, 2010

Vincent Van Gogh: A closer look ....

Someone else thinks of Don McLean's ballad when pondering Vincent as well : )

A beautiful compilation put together by user: tdifatta, September 23, 2006


Other interesting facts on Vincent Van Gogh to follow ...

Post-Impressionist (simply meaning artists who followed after the intitial movement) and a forerunner of Expressionism.  Vincent Van Gogh started out working for a group of art dealers, then worked briefly as a teacher, after which he "became a lay preacher in a Belgian mining district. ... He was fired when the Church became concerned with his over-zealous attempts to help the poor. Vincent had at last found his true vocation: illustrating the plight of the local peasantry."

Orginal artistic influence by Millet.  Then in 1886 Van Gogh went to Paris, where his style changed dramatically ... "influenced by Impressionism ... his palatte lightened and he began to employ bold simplifications of form. Like Gauguin, he also used colours symbollically, rather than naturalistically."

With his brother's financial support, Van Gogh moved to southern France.  Here he was joined briefly by Gauguin for a time, until the two had a clash ... which some speculate hastened his mental collapse. Despite his illness, Van Gogh continued to paint at a remarkable pace. Sadly, Van Gogh only sold one of his paintings during his lifetime, but the artists work "has since become the most popular and sought-after of any modern artist."

[information and quotes from: "World Art: The Essential Illustrated History", @2006 Flame Tree Publishing]

One thing that I notice about Van Gogh's work is how well he captures the essence of the people that he paints in the their eyes.  There is a beautiful simplicity to his work, but Van Gogh captures and converys a depth of feeling and emotion in his recreation of the detail of his subjects' eyes.   If it is true that the eyes are a mirror to the soul, then Van Gogh had a gift for seeing into the soul ... just my humble opinion.  I've always had trouble with eyes ... perhaps it is because when I try to draw eyes, I am looking with my mind and not my soul.  My anxiety over capturing the eyes prompts the mechanical in me to take over ... removing moving a work which may have started in the spiritual realm abruptly back into the material realm.  Something to think on ...

Another point that fascinates me is the number of self-portraits done by this artist.  What courage to look that deeply into oneself and reproduce what is seen.  How many of us, I wonder, ever take the time or effort to analyze ourselves that closely ... that critically?  Takes A LOT of courage to do the latter in my opinion ... I've never had the courage to undertake a serious self-portrait of myself.  Don't know that I ever will either?

Well, I hope that perhaps I've provided you with a brief retreat from the demands of your everday existence.

Joyful day to you!  God Bless!


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