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Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh
1853 – 1890

"And my aim in my life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can; then, at the end of my life, I hope to pass away, looking back with love and tender regret, and thinking, 'Oh, the pictures I might have made!'"
Vincent van Gogh
Letter 338
19 November 1883
Early Years –

Vincent Van Gogh makes one of the most tragic lives in the history of painting, which began on March 30, 1853 at Groot-Zundert, in Dutch Brabant, near the Belgian frontier. Vincent’s father, Theodorus, was a pastor and the son of a pastor. His mother, Anna Cornelia Carbentus, was the daughter of a Court bookbinder at The Hague. Their married life was happy and uneventful.

Anna and Theodorus had a first child, Vincent-Wilhelm, only to die at the age of six weeks. A year to the very day after, the Anna bore a second son, Vincent Van Gogh. Anna then delivered five more children, Theo, Vincent’s favorite brother, his supporter and guide, Cornelius, Anna, Elisabeth-Huberta and Willemien. Vincent lived in his native village till he was twelve years old. He was very quiet, liable to sudden bursts of impatience or high spirits, which alternated with long periods of depression. Secretive, he did not mix with other children. Vincent was not antisocial; he shared in the family life and showed great affection for his home circle. His childhood was outwardly dull and he was a lonely boy, but stubborn and determined. His time was spent in the rather confined family circle, but he was always conscious of the distant horizon bounded by the low sky, where the light was subdued even in summer. His home set Vincent an example of ‘fruitful life’ for which he formed an enduring respect. It was the only kind of life that he felt had meaning, though he himself never attained to it. And to the very end he loved his native land, with its austere, melancholy beauty – even while he fled from it towards the light, in his effort to know and fulfill himself more completely. His family lavished affection on him and tried hard to find excuses for his moods of violence or depression; they longed to understand him, or to love him in a different way. Vincent, for his part, tried to draw closer to them and be more sociable, though he did not always succeed, and his failure would bring on a period of dejection. OF all Vincent’s brothers and sisters, Theo was the one who came closest to him; yet they were very unlike, Theo being as gentle and trusting as his elder brother was irritable, imperious and distraught. Still, the younger boy understood, or rather ‘accepted’ the difficult personality of the future painter.

On October 1st 1864, Vincent left Zundert to go to the Jean Provily School at Zevenbergen at the age of eleven. His parents thought that their son would be ‘civilized’ by associating with boys of his own age, but the results were disappointing. He became less unsociable and highly-strung, but he often went off by himself to read books on philosophy or theology, which were too
Advanced for his age, or simply to dream. He did not do well at lessons. On 30th July 1869, on the recommendation of his Uncle Cent, Mr. Teresteeg, the manager, engaged Vincent as an assistant at the Dutch branch of the Paris art dealers Goupil and Co. He was to stay in this job for four years. They were peaceful, hard-working years and they introduced him to a long succession of pictures of the kind then in favor with the public: genre paintings, military studies, nudes, sunsets and sentimental anecdotes. Mr. Teresteeg was pleased with him and the van Gogh family forgot their uneasiness about his future. Vincent was relatively successful as an art dealer and stayed with Goupil & Cie. for seven more years. In 1873 he was transferred to the London branch of the company and quickly became enamored with the cultural climate of England. In late August, Vincent moved to 87 Hackford Road and boarded with Ursula Loyer and her daughter Eugenie the relationship between Vincent and Goupil's became more strained as the years passed and in May of 1875 he was transferred to the Paris branch of the firm. It became clear as the year wore on that Vincent was no longer happy dealing in paintings that had little appeal for him in terms of his own personal tastes. Vincent left Goupil's in late March 1876 and decided to return to England where his two years there had been, for the most part, very happy and rewarding.

In April Vincent van Gogh began teaching at Rev. William P. Stokes' school in Rams gate. He was responsible for 24 boys between the ages of 10 and 14. His letters suggest that Vincent enjoyed teaching. After that he began teaching at another school for boys, this one lead by Rev. T. Slade Jones in Isle worth. In his spare time Van Gogh continued to visit galleries and admire the many great works of art he found there. He also devoted himself to his Bible study--spending many hours reading and rereading the Gospel. The summer of 1876 was truly a time of religious transformation for Vincent van Gogh. Although raised in a religious family, it wasn't until this time that he seriously began to consider devoting his life to the Church

In January 1879 Vincent began his duties preaching to the coal miners and their families in the mining village of Wasmes. Vincent felt a strong emotional attachment to the miners. He sympathized with their dreadful working conditions and did his best, as their spiritual leader, to ease the burden of their lives. Unfortunately, this altruistic desire would reach somewhat fanatical proportions when Vincent began to give away most of his food and clothing to the poverty-stricken people under his care. Despite Vincent's noble intentions, representatives of the Church strongly disapproved of Van Gogh's asceticism and dismissed him from his post in July. Refusing to leave the area, Van Gogh moved to an adjacent village, Cuesmes, and remained there in abject poverty. For the next year Vincent struggled to live from day to day and, though not able to help the village people in any official capacity as a clergyman, he nevertheless chose to remain a member of their community. One day Vincent felt compelled to visit the home of Jules Breton, a French painter he greatly admired, so with only ten francs in his pocket he walked the entire 70 kilometers to Courrières, France, to see Breton. Upon arriving, however, Vincent was too timid to knock and returned to Cuesmes utterly discouraged.
It was then that Vincent began to draw the miners and their families, chronicling their harsh conditions. It was during this pivotal time that Vincent van Gogh chose his next and final career: as an artist.
Artist –
"As for me, I am rather often uneasy in my mind, because I think that my life has not been calm enough; all those bitter disappointments, adversities, changes keep me from developing fully and naturally in my artistic career."
Vincent van Gogh
Letter W11
16 June 1889
In autumn of 1880, after more than a year living as a pauper in the Borinage, Vincent left for Brussels to begin his art studies. Vincent was inspired to begin these studies as a result of financial help from his brother, Theo. Vincent and Theo had always been close as children and throughout most of their adult lives maintained an ongoing and poignantly revealing correspondence. It is these letters, in total more than 700 extant, which form most of our knowledge of Van Gogh's perceptions about his own life and works. 1883 was another year of transition for Van Gogh: both in his personal life and in his role as an artist. Vincent began to experiment with oil paints in 1882, but it wasn't until 1883 that he worked in this medium more and more frequently. For the next six weeks Vincent lived a rather nomadic life, moving throughout the region and drawing and painting the remote landscape and its inhabitants. Vincent returned to his parents' home, now in Nuenen, in late 1883. Throughout the following year Vincent van Gogh continued to refine his craft. He produced dozens of paintings and drawings during this period: weavers, spinners and other portraits. The local peasants proved to be his favorite subjects--in part because Van Gogh felt a strong affinity toward the poor working laborers and partly because he was such an admirer of the painter Millet who himself produced sensitive and compassionate paintings of workers in the fields. In the early months of 1885 Van Gogh continued his series of portraits of peasants. Vincent viewed these as "studies", works which would continue to refine his craft in preparation for his most ambitious work to date. Vincent labored throughout March and April on these studies, briefly distracted from his work by the death of his father on 26 March. Vincent and his father had maintained a severely strained relationship over the last few years and, while certainly not happy about his father's death, Vincent was quite emotionally detached and continued his work. All the years of hard work, of continually refining his technique and learning to work in new media--all served as stepping stones toward the production of Vincent van Gogh's first great painting: The Potato Eaters.
Vincent worked on The Potato Eaters throughout April of 1885. He had produced various drafts in preparation of the final, large oil on canvas version. The Potato Eaters is acknowledged to be Vincent van Gogh's first true masterpiece and he was encouraged by the outcome.
Van Gogh continued to work throughout 1885, but once again became restless and in need of new stimulation. He enrolled briefly in the Academy in Antwerp in early 1886, but left it about four week’s later feeling stifled by the narrow and rigid approach of the instructors. As he demonstrated frequently throughout his life, Vincent felt that formal study was a poor substitute for practical work. Vincent had worked for five difficult years to hone his talents as an artist and with the creation of The Potato Eaters he proved himself a first-rate painter. But Vincent continually sought to better himself, to acquire new ideas and explore new techniques as a means of becoming the artist he truly aspired to be. In The Netherlands he had accomplished as much as he could. It was now time to explore new horizons and begin a journey, which would further refine his craft. Vincent left The Netherlands to find the answers in Paris and in the company of the Impressionists. In February 1888 van Gogh settled at Arles, where he painted more than 200 canvases in 15 months. During this time he sold no pictures, was in poverty, and suffered recurrent nervous crisis with hallucinations and depression. He became enthusiastic for the idea of founding an artists' co-operative at Arles and towards the end of the year he was joined by Gauguin. But as a result of a quarrel between them van Gogh suffered the crisis in which occured the famous incident when he cut off his left ear (or part of it), an event commemorated in his Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (Courtauld Institute, London).
The first weeks of 1889 would not be easy for Vincent van Gogh. After his recovery, Vincent returned to his Yellow House, but continued to visit Dr. Rey for examinations and to have his head dressings changed. Vincent was encouraged by his progress after the breakdown, but his money problems continued and he felt particularly depressed when his close friend, Joseph Roulin (1841-1903), decided to accept a better paying position and move with his family to Marseilles. Roulin had been a dear and faithful friend to Vincent for most of his time in Arles.
By this time, however, some of the citizens of Arles had become alarmed by Vincent's behavior and signed a petition detailing their concerns. The petition was submitted to the mayor of Arles and eventually to the superintendent of police who ordered Van Gogh readmitted to the Hôtel-Dieu hospital. Vincent remained in the hospital for the next six weeks, but was allowed to leave on supervised outings--in order to paint and to put his possessions into storage. It was a productive, but emotionally discouraging time for Van Gogh. As was the case a year before, Van Gogh returned to painting the blossoming orchards around Arles. But even as he was producing some of his best works, Vincent realized that his position was a precarious one and, after discussions with Theo, agreed to have him voluntarily confined to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Van Gogh left Arles on 8 May.
Upon arrival at the asylum, Van Gogh was placed in the care of Dr. Théophile Zacharie Auguste Peyron (1827-95). After examining Vincent and reviewing the case, Dr. Peyron was convinced that his patient was suffering from a type of epilepsy--a diagnosis that remains among the most likely possibilities, even today. The asylum was by no means a "snake pit," but Van Gogh was disheartened by the cries of the other residents and the bad food. He found it depressing that the patients had nothing to do all day--no stimulation of any kind. Part of Van Gogh's treatment included "hydro-therapy", a frequent immersion in a large tub of water. While this "therapy" was certainly not cruel in any way, neither was it in the least beneficial in terms of helping to restore Vincent's mental health.
As the weeks passed, Vincent's mental well being remained stable and he was allowed to resume painting. The staff was encouraged by Van Gogh's progress (or, at least, at his not suffering any additional attacks) and in mid-June Van Gogh produced his best known work: Starry Night.
Last Days –
Sunday evening, 27 July 1890 Vincent van Gogh set out, with his easel and painting materials, into the fields. There he took out a revolver and shot himself in the chest. Vincent managed to stagger back to the Ravoux Inn where he collapsed in bed and was then discovered by Ravoux. Dr. Mazery, the local practitioner, was called, as was Dr. Gachet. It was decided not to attempt to remove the bullet in Vincent's chest and Gachet wrote an urgent letter to Theo. Unfortunately, Dr. Gachet didn't have Theo's home address and had to write to him care of the gallery where he worked. This didn't cause a serious delay, however, and Theo arrived the next afternoon.
Vincent and Theo remained together for the last hours of Vincent's life. Theo was devoted to his brother, holding him and speaking with him in Dutch. Vincent seemed resigned to his fate and Theo later wrote: "He himself wanted to die; when I sat at his bedside and said that we would try to get him better and that we hoped that he would then be spared this kind of despair, he said 'La tristesse durera toujours' ('The sadness will last forever.') I understand what he wanted to say with those words." Theo, always his brother's greatest friend and supporter, was holding Vincent as he spoke his last words: "I wish I could pass away like this."
Vincent van Gogh died at 1:30 am. on 29 July 1890. The Catholic church of Auvers refused to allow Vincent's burial in its cemetery because Vincent had committed suicide. The nearby township of Méry, however, agreed to allow the burial and the funeral was held on 30 July.

“The Potato Eaters” “Starry Night”

“Portrait of Doctor Gachet” “The Church Auvers” “Brueke”

“Bluehender Pfirsichbaum”

“Nachtcafe Klein”

“The night café 1888; Yale University Art Gallery”

Of his Night Café, Vincent said: `I have tried to express with red and green the terrible passions of human nature.' For a time he was influenced by Seurat's delicate pointillist manner, but he abandoned this for broad, vigorous, and swirling brush-strokes. “Vincent's Room, Arles 1888; Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam”

Bibliography

Cabanne, Pierre. “Van Gogh.” Thames and Hudson Ltd. London 1963: Pg. 7-14 (AN 759.9492 G22)

Pioch, Nicolas. “Gogh, Vincent Van” Web Museum August 19, 2002: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gogh/

http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/bio.htm
• Vincent and Theo Van Gogh: A Dual Biography by Jan Hulsker (Fuller, 1990).
• Van Gogh by Ronald Pickvance (Lausanne: Edipress Imprimeries Reunies, 2000).
• Vincent van Gogh by Marc Edo Tralbaut (Viking, 1969).
• Van Gogh: His Life and Art by David Sweetman (Touchstone, 1990).…...

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...- The Night Cafe I visited www.artgallery.yale.edu and came across Vincent Van Gogh’s The Night Café (1988). I followed the instructions on “How to begin the Critical Analysis Essay (Extra Credit)”. As I was clicking through the collection at a “fairly good pace,” I stumbled on The Night Café. Its image stayed in my head for whatever reason. I finished looking at the collection and went right back to it. The painting must have struck a chord in my head, but getting into why that chord was struck would require another type of assignment. The Night Café is oil on canvas, from the art movement known as impressionism. The Night Café uses a display of optical and psychological color though harsh, textured swirls of impasto, which is the think buildup of paint on the surface of the canvas. One of his most interesting paintings (I think) is this one. The place he hung out at night drinking. The work depicts the interior of the Café de la Gare, an all night tavern owned by Joseph-Michel Ginoux and his wife Marie. It was located at 41 Rue Du Temple, 4th St. Paris, France. It is known that Van Gogh visited disreputable drinking establishments. The bare setting of the Café de la Gare served as inspiration to Van Gogh. The asymmetrical composition serves the purpose of communicating a feeling of unbalance. The psychological elements of this painting gave it unity: The disproportioned elements in the composition, the odd placement of objects, and the odd point of view...

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Vincent Van Gogh

...Aug. 30, 2010 Feelings Waltz on the Canvas Vincent Van Gogh and His Impact on Art World “ ... Starry starry night, Flaming flowers that brightly blaze     Swirling clouds in violet haze     Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue     Colors changing hue     Morning fields of amber grain     Weathered faces lined in pain     Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand…” In the song “Vincent”, Mclean reveals one after another beautiful painting of Van Gogh through the singer’s gorgeous words. At the same time he expresses his understanding and respect to the gifted artist Vincent Van Gogh. Even though Van Gogh was suffered by hunger and cold, misunderstanding and distorting, he had always immersed in creating art with passion. His inspiration of art creating was never surrendered to the fate. Speaking was never Van Gogh’s strength. He preferred to communicate with others through his art works. Van Gogh said, “…art wells up from a deeper source out of our soul.” The art world should be grateful for Van Gogh’s special way of communication. Otherwise there will never be Post-impressionism. Vincent Van Gogh lived long time ago, and yet his work is still varying many perspectives of people’s life. The legacy of Vincent Van Gogh led the flourish of the Post-impressionism and Expressionism, impacted many artists’ art style in nowadays, and changed the way mankind views the beauty of the world and society. After Van Gogh died, people started to notice him and his......

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토렌트미 | Khadeen Ellis | Meu Malvado Favorito (Despicable Me) 2010