Van Gogh Art

Written by Sarah Provost
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Vincent Van Gogh's art speaks to all of us, and so does the man. Perhaps partly because of his extraordinarily intense self-portraits, he seems familiar to us, like an odd, solitary cousin at the family reunion. The vast majority of us know nothing about the life of Renoir or Mondrian or Chagall. But we do know something of Vincent.

Van Gogh's art seems like autobiography. Monet painted the landscapes around him, and imbued them with astonishing visual shimmer and beauty. But we get little sense of the man who saw those waterlilies and haystacks. When Van Gogh looks at the olive trees at Saint-Remy, or cypresses at Arles, the intensity of his vision is transferred directly to the canvas. Van Gogh's art quivers with life and emotion.

Monet shows us the world as he sees it, but he sees it with his eye. Color and form are broken down and reformed with great technical skill. When Van Gogh shows us his world, he sees it with his heart and his sad, disturbed brain.

Van Gogh's Art Reflects the Man

Any great artist must be honest, at least while he's painting. And Vincent was honest. He was also frightened and lonely, humble but certain of his vision, and these characteristics come through in the work. Van Gogh seemed to have a passionate attachment to the world, including the inanimate objects in it. In a work like Still-life with Boots, those boots are not just articles of apparel, but speak volumes about fatigue, and loyalty, and humility. In Vincent's world, there was so much life that it almost overwhelmed him, and that life pours out upon the canvas.


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