Vincent Van Gogh: Madman and Artist

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Joey Pelliccia
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Vincent Van Gogh: Madman and Artist

Vincent Van Gogh, from the words of many, is one of the most famous post-impressionist painters of modern art the world has ever seen. Van Gogh was a serious, smart thinking man that found art to be the passion of his life. Van Gogh was a driven artist, but inside was a fragile, ill man that was consumed by his sickness. One way to fully understand Van Gogh’s thinking about his art,his thoughts, and his beliefs is through his letters that he had written to his younger brother Theodore. From Van Gogh’s art to his letters, one can truly see the passion and he put into every piece he created, as well as his emotions at the time.

Vincent Van Gogh was was born on March 30, 1853 in Groot-Zundert, a village within the southern Netherlands. As a child, Van Gogh was found to be very serious as well as quiet and attended school within the village he lived in. Later on he attended middle school in Tilburg, the Netherlands and this is where he was taught how to draw and began to find drawing very intriguing. It wouldn’t be until he obtained a job working for an art dealer that his uncle helped get him into, his passion for art.

Van Gogh had his own unique methods for the art he created. “Van Gogh created the drawings, which emphasizes that they, like the letters he wrote to his brother, Theo, were "regular and faithful records of what was on his mind." ” (American Artist 77). Van Gogh visualized many things and would simply go out and begin painting what he saw, the way he saw it in his mind. “He did not throw his paint on the canvas in a burst of emotion, but considered carefully the effects he was striving to achieve.” (Art Newspaper 49-50). Painting brought Van Gogh much joy in his life and is quoted to have said that, “The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting.”

“Van Gogh's greatest resource was his visual memory and raw instincts.” (American Artist 77). Although Van Gogh may have learned the fundamentals of how to draw while attending middle school, beyond that he took his basic knowledge and expanded that idea, teaching himself about art and viewing it within his own way. The fact in which Van Gogh was almost entirely self taught and the works he created, show his devotion for art and how he truly saw art in a different way. At the time there was no one like Van Gogh and this is evident though his thinking and his paintings and it was probably the reason why his work was not showcased.

“Van Gogh had ambivalent feelings about his environment.” (Art Newspaper 90). When viewing Van Gogh’s paintings, it is easy to spot the different moods Van Gogh had at the time of each painting. While living in Paris, it is said that Van Gogh discovered impressionism. Impressionism is a style of painting depicting the visual feeling, using the different effects of light and color. Van Gogh’s self portraits display his emotions and helped him to look at himself in a deeper perspective. “Van Gogh's self-portraits are another story. These are the scaring records of soul-wrestling, the riveting evidence of a painter gone deep into the human psyche.” (Art New England 23-5). [pic] Van Gogh’s self portrait with a straw hat was one of his last self portraits while in Paris in 1888. We can see how the different effects of lights and colors are used within this self portrait. This self portrait shows the contrast of light because one can see that the left side of his face is darker than the right side of his face. The right side of his face is more illuminated and the colors are used differently. We see the use of colors within the whole painting. There is yellow mixed with brown as well as green within his jacket. There are different shades of yellow within his hat. The background of the painting has mostly brown with streaks of yellow in it as well. The whole self portrait in itself has use of different colors on one specific color. The brushstrokes...
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