Dutch Artist Vincent van Gogh
The Post-Impressionist Dutch Artist Vincent van Gogh
In the modern times, the personality of the post-impressionist Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh remains recognizable since his pieces of art with emotional honesty, rough beauty, and daring tones and motifs extensively affected the art of the twentieth century. The artist greatly transformed the artistic inspiration and energy into a very impressive individual style (Stokstad & Cothren, 2011). Van Gogh strengthened the vibrant tones with vigorous brushstrokes painting them thickly on the canvas and expressing his emotional state. The artworks of post-impressionists and impressionists significantly influenced the peculiar style of Van Gogh. Despite the fact that the artist’s career was brief and lasted nearly ten years, the legendary Van Gogh proved to be innovative and prolific. The painter used to experiment with a wide diversity of subjects including portraiture, life, and landscape; however, his outstanding self-portraits have finally defined him as an eminent artist. Vincent van Gogh created a great variety of self-portraits during his life that became a significant part of his oeuvre as an artist. A powerful and unique way in which he exploited bright and vibrant colors made the works expressive, deep, strong, simplistic, and very emotional. Despite the fact that Van Gogh was well- known for his quick work, he could create his masterpieces all day long. The artist strove to make his drawings the remarkable and prominent pieces of art in a proper and perfect way (Bodden, 2009). A largely self-taught painter resolutely believed in his personal power and strength that fueled his solitary and persistent aspiration of the artistic success and achievements despite the insufficient notice of it. Using own thoughts and reflection allowed Van Gogh to experiment with different styles, colors, lights, effects, and techniques. The series of vivid self-portraits clearly demonstrated the way the artist’s coloration became livelier and brighter over time.
Self-Portrait with Dark Felt Hat created by Van Gogh is one of the earliest oil-on-canvas artworks. In the painting, the artist is dressed in a voluminous cloak; his dark- brown felt hat is pulled low on the forehead. The low light of the painting mutes his ginger-red and bright beard; piercing eyes are profoundly shadowed beneath his frown. Van Gogh created this painting shortly after he arrived in Paris; the work features the earthy and restrained range of tones and hues typified for his peasant subjects. The artist presented himself in a transitional phase; he was wary and vigilant but ready to start a new life full of challenges.
Self- Portrait with Pipe
Van Gogh created Self- Portrait with Pipe before he moved to France; it is typical for his earlier work. In this piece of art, the earthy dark tones and colors characterize the traditional Dutch art, and the artist particularly used them in order to produce an image of modest dignity. The paintings of the Dutch realist artist Anton Mauve, who was a tutor and cousin-in-law of Van Gogh, highly influenced his artworks in the 1880’s. The image style, in particular, the hair and beard have the strong and direct resemblance to Anton Mauve himself. Self- Portrait in a Grey Felt Hat represents a perfect balance between the energy of Van Gogh’s brushwork and the vitality of chosen colors. The artist’s confidence and control of color have approached its peak. The facial tones create a realistic and traditional painting. Moreover, the colors used by Van Gogh to produce the tones and hues explode like fireworks of green, red, sky blue, orange, white, yellow, and lilac brushstrokes. The artist has greatly harnessed the power of used brushstrokes by controlling and regulating their direction, size, and rhythm. They emanate outward from the eyes to generate the orange and blue aura that surrounds his head.
Japanese Popular Art
Van Gogh’s obsession with Japanese art led to the creation of a curious Self-Portrait with a Japanese Print. All the brushstrokes used by the artist expressively form the head, strange eyes, and pursed mouth. There is an allusion of the Japanese print (the Parisian genre painting of the time) in the background of the artwork. Like the majority of innovative artists and writers of his era, the Dutch artist became fascinated with Japanese popular art and its exoticism that flooded the European continent after opening a new trade route to the East in 1854. The Japanese art and its picturesque aspects of daily life and nature offered Vincent van Gogh an alternative to the narrow artistic traditions incompatible with distinctive aims and skills (Ives et.al, 2005).
Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin
In the Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin, the artist depicts himself with the monastic rigor and severity; Van Gogh created this painting for the French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin as a part of the deal between the legendary personalities in the sphere of art. In 1888, Gauguin and Van Gogh exchanged self-portraits that indicated a great swap, the way the artists perceived and identified themselves and desired to be seen and appreciated by other people. The beard, short hair, gaunt and exhausted face of Van Gogh in this stark self-portrait hint at the artist’s belief and conviction in the monastic lifestyle. Moreover, this self-portrait could reflect the artist’s role as a monk or a humble disciple of Paul Gauguin. Van Gogh painted this austere portrait in anticipation and expectation of Gauguin’s arrival in Arles, France (“Artistic influences”, 2013). Van Gogh depicted himself as gaunt person with close-cropped hair; the artist depicted himself as a counterpart to the Japanese Buddhist religious tutor considering himself as a simple Buddha’s follower. The Dutch artist represented Gauguin as the head of their fellowship. With the self-portrait dedicated to the French artist, Van Gogh greatly expressed his intense aspiration to follow the art direction offered by Paul Gauguin.
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Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear remains one of the most popular and interesting self-portraits of Van Gogh created after the artist returned from the hospital because he cut off his ear. The prominent bandage demonstrates the context of this event as an important one. The artist portrays himself being in the own studio; he wears a hat and overcoat. The facial expression is melancholy and motionless, although Van Gogh contemplated his position as a painter, and masterfully created this composition. He took a detached and quiet look at himself and greatly expressed a feeling of hope through the simplified drawing and bright colors.
Self- Portrait: Saint-Remy
With Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe, the artist has conveyed a message to his viewer not only because of his overwhelming depression and his physical suffering but also because of enormous anxiety, mental despair, and fear. The bandaged ear, distorted eyes, and pallid face precisely reflect his unhealthy state and signal hopelessness. A remarkable feature of the painting is a unique facial composition including the powerless lips, morbid face, and soulless eyes. The burning pipe, flat and rough color use, and completely covered body with numerous layers of his clothes express anxious mentality and spiritual instability of Van Gogh. He seems to be in a need of security and protection. The self-portrait demonstrates remorse and extreme sorrow. Van Gogh’s face is thin; his complexion is unhealthily yellow that gives the viewer the impression that the artist is significantly aging. Self- Portrait: Saint-Remy has brought together the artist’s choice of drawing style and color reflecting the emotional state. Van Gogh painted this piece of art soon after he left the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy; it shows how the artist continued to fight his demons during the internal crisis. Public deservedly describes this work as the most powerful self-portrait in the world art history. The painting’s energy comes from the eyes as the most prominent portrait’s feature. The piercing eyes of Van Gogh hold viewers transfixed; they focus on what happens inside the artist’s head, not the outside. This self-portrait is quite a courageous image of a person, who attempts to hold himself together while fighting with the inner fears.
Van Gogh Died
After long years of frequent bouts and painful anxiety due to his mental illness, Van Gogh died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as it was recognized at the time. However, no gun was detected then. He was thirty-seven. Despite the general trend to romanticize the artist’s ill health, most of the critics see Van Gogh deeply disappointed by the incoherence and inactivity caused by the bouts of his illness. Late artworks represent the Dutch artist at the height of his abilities, completely under control, aiming for grace and conciseness (Hughes, 1990). Although Van Gogh’s disease caused the dark and hard time of depression and eventual death, the painter also experienced a time of delight and enthusiasm when he produced works with the unique insight of the emotional color impact. Public recognizes the high quality while looking at all Van Gogh’s paintings, and people continue to appreciate a huge personal price that the artist paid during his 10-year career. The artist’s life and great achievements in the sphere of art undoubtedly made Vincent van Gogh one of the legendary and talented artists in the world history.