Week 6 Art Project Elijah Smith

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is an impressive piece of artwork that is infamous for many reasons. Of these reasons that the painting is popular, the principle that I believe makes this painting so popular is pattern that is used. The pattern of the stars and the sky make this painting very amicable. According to The Museum of Modern Art (1999) “Van Gogh's night sky is a field of roiling energy. Below the exploding stars, the village is a place of quiet order. Connecting earth and sky is the flame-like cypress, a tree traditionally associated with graveyards and mourning. But death was not ominous for van Gogh. ‘Looking at the stars always makes me dream,’ he said, ‘Why, I ask myself, shouldn't the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star’”(p.35). As you can see from this excerpt, the pattern of the painting let’s Van Gogh send the message that he set forth to communicate. (1999). The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, p. 35.
The Bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh is another painting that strikes the viewer by the principle of emotion. Although the painting could be looked at as a small room, Van Gogh arranged the painting to provide emotion and send the message of freedom within his own domain. According to vangoghletters.org (1990), “While in Arles, Van Gogh made this painting of his bedroom, which he had fitted out with simple wooden furniture and his own art on the walls. By use of strong, contrasting colors, Van Gogh sought to express particular emotions: here the pale purple of the tiles, the yellow of the furniture and the light violet of the walls are intended to evoke the rest or sleep that he experienced in his bedroom”. As you can see from this letter, Van Gogh could not only use a painting of the outdoors to express emotion, but could also use something as simple as a bedroom. (1990). Van Gogh Museum. Retrieved from http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let705/letter.html.
Undergrowth with Two Figures by Vincent Van Gogh is a painting that establishes rhythm throughout the painting. The rhythm is mainly established by the trees in the painting and continues as you look at the other characteristics of the painting. According to Lopez (2012), “’Undergrowth with Two Figures’ (1890), a stunning work that has been cleaned for the occasion and looks just as fresh as if it had been painted yesterday. Rhythmic starbursts of green, white and yellow brushstrokes race across the horizontal canvas, punctuated by the silver-gray verticals of evenly spaced tree trunks. The strolling man and woman mentioned in the title are easy to miss, but once seen they add an unmistakable note of foreboding to the composition”. Another attribute of this painting that adds to the rhythm of the painting is the people serving as a center focal point. This draws your attention to the center of the painting and can create different views for the audience. Lopez. (2012). A Matter of Perspective. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204136404577207501739707154.
Landscape at Saint Remy by Vincent Van Gogh is a painting that emphasizes the principle of time. The time that is being reflected in the artwork is the period of time when Van Gogh had his mental breakdown. According to Bos (2015), “When Vincent checked into Saint-Paul Hospital in Saint-Rémy, he did not know what was causing his problems. Working without a previous diagnosis, his current doctor - Théophile Zacharie Auguste Peyron - believed van Gogh had a form of epilepsy. Today, scholars who have studied his condition tend to agree. Soon after becoming a patient at Saint-Paul, van Gogh began to paint his surroundings: the hospital's garden, an iris, lilacs, a field of poppies, the mountainous landscape behind the hospital, cypress trees, an olive grove, a wheat field and - famously - a group of irises”. Because this was a painting that was done when Van Gogh was seeking help for his mental health, it has become a very popular painting. The interpretation of the painting can be viewed from many different perspectives and allows the audience to derive the mental state of Van Gogh at that time. Bos. (2015). Vincent at Saint Remy. Retrieved from https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/VINCENT-at-SAINT-REMY-Vincent-Van-Gogh.
Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh is brought to life by the color that he uses in the painting. The color of the painting that sticks out to the audience the most is orange. Van Gogh was famous for having orange hair and that made him easily identifiable. This identifier makes this painting one of the most popular self-portraits of its time. According to nga.gov (2015), “The fervor and fragility of Van Gogh’s life are told on this canvas by stark contrasts of color and restless brushstrokes. Heavy lines of paint seem to emanate from his head like a wavering force field, energized by his own intensity. This background sets off the complementary colors of his green-tinged face and orange hair, keying his image to a higher pitch”. As you can see from this excerpt, Self Portrait answered a lot of questions as to who Van Gogh was. Because of the openness of the painting, it allowed people to relate to Van Gogh that only increased his popularity. (2015). Self Portrait. Retrieved from http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/highlights/highlight106382.html.
Thatched Cottages at Cordeville by Vincent Van Gogh is a painting that uses the principle of emotion to communicate with the audience. The lines and texture that he uses in the painting communicate that he was in an emotional state. Van Gogh’s aggressiveness in this painting showed how he had evolved as a painter and psychologically. According to Lewandowski (2006), “Here the painter subjects the landscape to a veritable transmutation driven by psychic forces. The peaceful thatched cottages, which can still be seen in old photographs, seem to have been lifted by some powerful telluric force that has dilated them. The wild, swirling design makes the roof undulate, sends the tree branches up in spirals, transforms the clouds into arabesques... Moreover, the image is worked in thick impasto with real furrows gouged into the paint”. As you can see, this was arguably one of the most aggressive paintings to date by Van Gogh. The aggressive line use is something that continued on in his future paintings and seemed to coincide with his moods. Lewandowski. (2006). Thatched Cottages at Cordeville. Retrieved from http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting/commentaire_id/thatched-cottages-at-cordeville-18199.html?cHash=5fa6b59f9b.
Poppy Field by Vincent Van Gogh is brought to life by color. The red filed makes the painting what it is and offers viewers a sense of peace when viewing it. According to vangogh.net (2009), “The poppy flower is common to many Van Gogh Vase with Red Poppies countries but is often associated with the blooms covering expansive open fields in the South of France. This image is likely ingrained in the subconscious due to the popularity of the many Van Gogh poppy field paintings. Typically blooming in May and June, painting from what he saw in nature, Van Gogh poppies are were also late spring creations. Between the years 1886 and 1890, Vincent van Gogh completed seven different paintings featuring poppy flowers. Van Gogh did not have money to pay models, so still-life painting became more practical”. As you can see from this excerpt, Van Gogh did not have a surplus of money that he used to spend on his artwork. He chose to paint things such as the peaceful, red field to entertain his audience. The peacefulness of this painting also symbolizes the new found peacefulness that Van Gogh had undergone emotionally as well. 2009). Poppy Field, 1890. Retrieved from http://www.vangogh.net/poppy-field.jsp.
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