Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#artspiration 2: Vincent van Gogh

The next artist in this weekly art inspiration roundup is no less than a well known one: Vincent van Gogh. He was a post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin, whose work had a big influence on 20th century art.

Colors & form: He is known for using complimentary, contrasting colors which he used to intensify certain aspects in his work. He is also well known for a unique brushstroke: one that was rapid with thickly painted strokes laid closely together.

When did I first notice his work: When I was 15, my family and I went to New York for a one week holiday. We went to the opera, the cinema and various museums. In Museum of Modern Art I saw the first "real" van Gogh painting, which I will never forget: It is called "The starry night". It depicts the view outside of his sanatorium room window. I was literally standing there for fifteen minutes just staring at the picture. It is electric and fascinating, I absolutely adore it! It is also among his best known paintings and marks an important turn towards greater imaginative freedom in his art.

The Starry Night (MOMA, New York)

The Red Vineyard
The Sower
Road With Cypress And Star


The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night

He wrote about The Night Café: "I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where on can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime."

"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint", then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

"I keep on making what I can't do yet in order to learn to be able to do it."


The Night Café
White House At Night
He had only sold one painting during his brief career.
He created many self-portraits during his lifetime. He painted himself 37 times between 1886 and 1869.
Van Gogh alternated between fits of madness and lucidity in his late stages and was sent to an asylum for treatment. He cut his ear off in one of his fits (a replica of his ear is currently shown in a German musem)

He shot himself at the age of 37.

Why do I like his art:
I like the way he puts emphasis on the color combinations like "there is no blue without a yellow and orange" and emphasizes the beauty of life. His brush stroke is, simply put, genius to me. It's sad and a real tragedy that he couldn't get any recognition for his work during his lifetime. Maybe if he had, he would have had more time to paint...

>> Have you ever seen a Van Gogh painting or exhibition? Do you have any favorite paintings or memories connected to him? 


  1. Van Gogh is my favorite! I just love his rich colors and use of texture in his work. When i visited France, I remember staring out into the countryside, amazed that he got the golds and greens just right in his paintings. I've been lucky enough to see his work at a couple of museums, and end up staring for so long at them-they're just so beautiful. lovely post!

    Little Blue Backpack

    1. Yes! Have you been to the museum on Provence? It's exactly like you said it: he painted it SO close to reality, we might have to invent a new word for his painting style ;)

  2. I love his colours as well, I agree with the no orange without blue etc. Such gorgeous work I'm off to NY soon i need to remember to visit Moma again! XX

    1. So true :) Wish you a wonderful stay in NYC, it's one of the best cities for museum hopping, aaaah jealous! ;)

  3. Last year i saw an exhibition which compared some of his work with Japanese ukiyo-e and i think some of his painting in there were truly beautiful, even though i saw others before in Amsterdam :) and it gave another view upon his work too (was that correct english?)

    1. wow, that sounds like a very interesting exhibition! I really like it when museums do "comparisons" of different artists! :)
      That was perfect English Emma, thanks for commenting! Merci beaucoup!


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