Van Gogh The Expressionist Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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and browns, and they are sharing a sparse meal of potatoes and broth. One can almost see van Gogh?s sympathy for these people. The painting is so emotionally charged?.it is as though he has become one of them, and entered into their suffering himself. Vincent returned to his childhood home after a while, to live with his family again. There, he fell deeply in love with a cousin. The feelings were not reciprocated, and the relationship was doomed to failure. When his father, a deeply religious man, found out about van Gogh?s incestuous tendencies, the result was a father-son rift that was never resolved. Once again, van Gogh entered into a period of deep personal depression. Even looking at his self-portraits throughout the years, his sufferings are evident. His face is sallow,

his mouth droops, his jaw is set, and his eyes are sunken. His apparel is always brown or very dark in colour. Clearly, this is not a happy man. As van Gogh continued into his late 20?s and early 30?, his life only grew worse. He moved to Paris, where he befriended fellow artist Gaugin. Once again, though, Vincent?s personal problems and inability to forge normal, lasting interpersonal relationships led to a massive fight with Gaugin. This was the fight that left van Gogh feeling so angry and hurt that he cut off his own ear in a fit of rage. How can one not say that he is a true expressionist when one sees the tragedy of his “Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe”? Theo van Gogh heard of his brother?s erratic act, and had Vincent institutionalized in Arles in 1888. In the

asylum, van Gogh painted more than seventy artworks, stemming from his psychological viewpoints and frustration and depression in his life at this moment. Cutting his ear off was only the beginning of his psychotic episodes. In retrospect, it seems as though van Gogh?s emotional outbreaks occurred prior to any perceived ?threats? to his relationships with people he cared about. For example, he had a breakdown after the fight with Gaugin. He had another upon Theo?s engagement (Vincent thought marriage would take his brother away from him) and yet another at the wedding. Predictably, with increasing psychiatric problems and personal unhappiness, van Gogh?s expressionist talents were at their prime. Paintings such as “Wheat Field with Crows” (1890) reflected mottled feelings of

optimism (characterized by bright and garish yellows and oranges) and deep despair and hopelessness (as seen in the navy skies and black crow symbols). Vincent did suffer from bipolar disorder, which caused him to vary between a manic state and a deep depressive state, so his artistic ambivalence is not surprising. Only a few days after completing this painting, van Gogh was dead. On July 27, 1890, he shot himself in the stomach and died. As he said to his beloved brother, Theo, near the end of his turbulent life “I feel…a failure. That’s it as far as I’m concerned…I feel that this is the destiny that I accept, that will never change.” Vincent van Gogh?s life was a tragedy?a sad legacy of thousands of paintings and sketches which all tell his life story. In the

beautiful and intense colours of works like “Sunflowers,” “Haystacks”, “Wheatfield with Cypresses”, “Almond Branches in Blossom” and “Irises”?is it not possible to see a glimmer of hope for a mad genius? Look at the vivid yellow and red-orange hues. It is as though these are pictures of what he wants in his life. Colour?.representing happiness, love, freedom? An escape from his borderline insanity, perhaps. Then, in works like “Prisoners Exercising,” Peasant Woman with the Yellow Straw Hat,” “La Berceuse” and “The Potato Eaters,” we are given a dark insight into the world of the poor and oppressed. His colours are ambivalent?ranging from bright flowers and cornfields to the dark lines etched into the troubled faces of his subjects. In others, the

entire scene is grey and dull, showing how far into the suffering of his subjects Vincent has allowed himself to sink. In his final years, van Gogh created some of his most acclaimed works. “Starry Night”, “Starry Night Above the Rhone, ” and “Wheatfield with Crows.” These paintings were awash with vivid, dark blues, glittering yellow-white stars, black birds in a turbulent sky, and bright corn growing in a field of gold. These pre-suicidal masterpieces are van Gogh?s snapshot of a disease. Earlier in his life, he painted his own room-”Bedroom”?.the empty chairs and the colours used (blue walls, brown and green mottled floor) reflected the early signs of his social isolation and perhaps, the onslaught of his psychiatric disorder. Hence, it was only expected that