Van Gogh: From Self-Portraits to Street Art

His selfies, his inspirations and his influence

By Google Arts & Culture

Google Cultural Institute

Self-Portrait (1889) by Vincent van GoghMusée d’Orsay, Paris

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and his art might well be the most instantly recognizable in the world, due in large part to his fascinating self-portraits. 127 years after his death, Van Gogh's popularity and influence show no signs of decline.

Google Arts & Culture and our partners present more than 217 Van Gogh works in high-resolution from over 50 different museum collections located on five continents. These include famous paintings, striking drawings and prints, and even some of his personal letters. To see all these works in person would certainly be the trip of a’d need to travel 20,000 miles (32,000 km ) to see them all.... or you can simply explore his selfies, and more here. Or take a selfie to discover if your portrait is in a museum. (This mobile experiment is currently available in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore and parts of the US. Stay tuned as we try to improve and expand!)

We've chosen a few of our favorite works below that show how Van Gogh continues to fuel the creativity of diverse artists today, and how he was inspired by artists and ideas from across the globe.

Vincent Van Gogh (2006) by Ham, Myung SuKorean Art Museum Association

Van Gogh’s image is so recognizable that it has been widely copied and interpreted by other artists. For example, compare Korean artist Myung Su Ham’s interpretation of Van Gogh's self-portrait with the original of 1889.

Cruif-Van-Gogh (2013) by UriginalStreet Art Museum Amsterdam

Do you recognize the familiar face painted on this brick wall? That piercing gaze, red hair and beard, and angular features, could only belong to one person. If you're a football fan, the figure standing to his left is none other than than the great Netherlands footballer Johan Cruyff.

Self-Portrait (1887) by Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890)The Art Institute of Chicago

It's a re-interpretation of another Van Gogh self-portrait; perhaps this painting dated 1887 from The Art Institute of Chicago.

Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake (Ohashi Atake no Yudachi), No. 58 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo by Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858)Original Source: Brooklyn Museum collection

Van Gogh himself was inspired by the work of other artists both near and far. 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints exerted a powerful influence on his imagination.

Bridge in the rain: after Hiroshige (October 1887 - November 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

Compare for example the great Edo artist Hiroshige’s famous Bridge in Rain with Van Gogh's re-interpretation in paint on canvas.

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo;Plum Garden in Kameido (1857) by UTAGAWA HiroshigeShimane Art Museum

Van Gogh reinterpretation of another Hiroshige's print - Flowering Plum Orchard - takes a dramatic turn with the painter dialing up the color contrasts and...

Flowering plum orchard: after Hiroshige (October 1887 - November 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

...silhouette of the twisted tree branches in the foreground to mysterious effect.

Portrait of Vincent van Gogh (1925/1928) by Imitator of Vincent van GoghNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC

As the saying goes, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Surely, Van Gogh is one of the most flattered artists in the history of art.

During the 1920s Van Gogh's work began to be catalogued and by the end of the decade the work of imitators and forgers began to proliferate as his reputation soared.

Self-Portrait (1889) by Vincent van GoghNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The work that inspired this imitator exists in the same collection, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Striking in its use of vibrant blues, the original painting is dated to 1889, making it one of Van Gogh's very last self-portraits before his untimely death in 1890.

We might ask why the 1925 version lacks the source work's intense palette. Maybe it was artistic license, or quite possibly the imitator saw neither the work at first hand nor a color reproduction of it.

Discover more about Van Gogh and his legacy here.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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