the sower and the haystack Essay

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When one gazes upon Monet’s art work, especially his haystack series, it is rather easy to see nature as momentary and ever changing. Monet’s haystacks were constantly yet subtly changing with the passing hours of the day and with the changes of the seasons. Wheatstacks, snow effect, morning is the particular haystack painting that will be focused on. Van Gogh’s The sower (in the setting sun), focuses on complementary colors and symbolism which allows us to view nature in a monumental and more eternal way. One of Van Gogh’s main interests were to paint farming subjects, capturing the field and the hard working peasants or farmers. More specifically the sower was his choice figure, due to the strong symbolism it held. Symbolism seemingly preoccupied Van Gogh during this time, as the sower became an icon for Van Gogh. We see a man standing alone in the middle of nature, and his actions of sowing the field bring life and prosperity.
Monet took time to do a series of haystacks, focusing on subtle changes and the emotion of the colors. Monet painted the haystacks in the evening, dawn, sunset and in the snow during winter. Like Van Gogh, Monet paid special attention to color as well, aspiring to harmonize shades to contrast his heightened value and intensity of colors.
Color was also a key aspect in all of Van Gogh’s art. Van Gogh traveled to Provence seeking for a stronger more intense light as well as vivid colors. For this artist the south of France was a pristine paradise. The Sower is covered in violet and yellow which are complementary colors. Complementary colors when placed next to each other allow the other to appear more vibrant and stunning, which explains why the paint seems to be almost glowing in this image.
Roger Marx stated that haystacks symbolized and summed up the labor, the sowing and the harvesting, as well as fighting the harsh elements to fertilize the land, much like Van Gogh did. The stacks are in fact wheatstacks, rather than haystacks. The significance is that grain makes bread, which represents wealth of the farmer as well as the wealth of the nation as a whole. Monet painted what he saw, as well as the sensations that he felt while looking at the natural effects of light. This allowed him to become an analyst of his own visual responses.
According to Van Gogh “color expresses something in itself.” He desired to find harmonies of color that would “express the love of two lovers by a wedding of two complementary colors.” He did just that with The Sower, as well as other paintings. He strove to reach those juxtapositions while painting every day scenes of the south. The...

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