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Van Gogh Essay

1165 words - 5 pages

Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most famous, most respected artists of all time. Living in a state of mental chaos, the only happiness was found in his love for painting. It is through his works he establishes a since of inner peace with no limitations. By escaping to a world of imagination, Van Gogh expresses his artistic freedom by using a variety of unimaginable styles and creations. Born in 1853 in the Netherlands in a small town named Zundert where Vincent Van Gogh was the oldest of six. When Van Gogh was young, he studied English, French, and German. At the age of 15, Van Gogh left school whereupon he returned home to work as an apprentice at a branch gallery of an international art dealership known as Goupil and Cie. Van Gogh worked for the art dealership for seven years, traveling between London and Paris. During this time he visited galleries, art museums and became very attracted to pastoral themed schools, such as the Hague school of painting. While he was working, he became very emotionally involved with studying the Bible. When he left from Goupil and Cie he was so influenced by the works of the Bible that he decided to become a clergyman. In 1878 Van Gogh moved to southern Belgium ministering to the poor as a preacher. He gave his personal belongings away and became obsessed with painting. About two years later he decided he wanted to become an artist himself. In that decision he found he could unite his commitment to God with his interest in art. Van Gogh believed that great artists could convey God's word. He greatly admired the works of Breton and Millet, who painted peasants in their daily life. One can see this influence in his painting, Potato Eaters. Dark, somber and somewhat crude, theses early works show evidence of Van Gogh's intense desire to express the misery and poverty of humanity as he saw it. He explained his views on the painting in a letter to Theo. 'I wanted to convey the idea that the people eating potatoes by the light of an oil lamp used the same hands with which they take food from the plate to work the land, that they have toiled with their hands--that they have earned their food by honest means' (Tilborgh). In attempt to convey life into the peasants', Van Gogh wanted to express the lack of refinement in the faces and hands, which were roughened by work. Van Gogh was struck by the 'ugliness' of country people and 'did not shrink from depicting coarse-looking faces in his rustic compositions, unrefined, or at best uncultivated figures, whose expressions seem to affirm that human beings are not always superior to animals' (Tilborgh). Van Gogh moved to Antwerp, in 1885, where he became interested in Japanese woodblock prints. He found Antwerp to be exciting and invigorating. Van Gogh began to collect woodblock prints and later he created his own woodblock prints. The life changing affect that powerful color-expression had on Van Gogh it influenced him to leave for...

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