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Van Vogh Essay

1445 words - 6 pages

Vincent van Gogh arrived in Arles, in the south of France, in 1888, hoping to establish an artists' colony there. During the next few years, Van Gogh experienced the most intensely productive period of his life, painting some 400 works, including several versions of his blazing Sunflowers, his timeless Night Café, living landscapes, portraits, and brilliant still life.The nightlife in Arels brought out the worst of company, alcoholics, prostitutes, and the homeless. Van Gogh, the poor struggling artist, felt quite at home with this company. One of the meeting places was Café de la Gare, where Van Gogh rented a room. Van Gogh wanted to get back at the owner for paying rent, so he painted a picture of the café, trying to capture the dirty aspects of the café.Van Gogh used blood red and green, contrasting colors, to express his feelings about the café. The picture's large blocks of pure, flat color anticipate the later German movement of Expressionism in many ways (Cutts & Smith 90). With Van Gogh's trademark brushstrokes, he is able to give the illusion that the floor and the pool table are scuffed up from the many years of wear and tear. There is a feeling when looking at the floor that the splinters are ready to pierce one's bare skin. The lamps that give off an almost tangible, luminous energy add to the overall sense that, as Ban Gogh himself so aptly put it: "It is the delirium tremens in full swing."(Cutts & Smith90) Van Gogh observes the people with no moral judgment as he always does. The main figure in this painting is the figure next to the pool table. This is the owner of the café. He shows the owner's face with no expression.At Café de la Gare, Van Gogh met a man by the name of Joseph-Etienne Roulin. Roulin's easy-going demeanor, Republican convictions, and lifestyle of heavy drinking all appealed to Van Gogh (Cutts &Smith 168). Furthermore, he also comes to consider Roulin as something of a father figure, whose wisdom he compared to that of Socrates.Even though Roulin had the mind of a philosopher Van Gogh painted Roulin in his blue uniform with yellow buttons to show him as a working man. The background is decorated with flowers. This is not the background that Van Gogh saw while painting Roulin, but the background that Van Gogh felt should be there. This is a concept that Van Gogh used in other portraits such as Portrait of Dr Rey, Portrait of Eugene Bach, and La Berceuse, Roulin's wife.Van Gogh was immediately struck by the hot reds and yellows of the Mediterranean, which he increasingly used symbolically to represent his own moods. An example of this would be Van Gogh's painting The Sunflowers. The Sunflowers expressed the radiant warmth and joy felt by a man whose melancholia had been magnificently banished (Cutts & Smith 138). The man responsible for Van Gogh's mood was, a fellow artist and friend, Paul Gauguin. They lived in Van Gogh's yellow house, which Theo...

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