Van Gogh

Essay by finishing7ouchHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2008

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There have been many famous artists, architects, and even sculptors throughout the history of art, but one famous modern artist of the mid 19th century was Vincent Van Gogh. Vincent Van Gogh, born in Groot-Zundert, Holland in 1853, was the chief symbol of expression. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, he decided to become an artist. Van Gogh remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty.

He was largely self-taught as an artist, although he received help from his cousin, Mauve. His first works of the Dutch period were heavily painted, somber-toned, sharply lit, mud-colored and clumsy attempts to represent the life of the poor (e.g. Potato-Eaters, 1885, Amsterdam), influenced by one of his artistic heroes, Millet. This painting used dark, murky colors, almost as if to show no life or happiness in the portrait.

Van Gogh used most of the elements of art, such as color, value, shape, texture, space, line, and form. Although he didn’t have a dominant art element, he did make a transition from dark colors to light colors.

Vincent moved to Paris in 1886 and lived with his devoted brother, Theo, who was the manager of Goupil's gallery. Theo introduced him to artists like Gauguin, Pissarro, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec. Theo was also Van Gogh’s main and biggest influence. They used to write each other letters, and Vincent had written more than 800 letters to him. For example, in one letter, Van Gogh talked about the principles of art: “Dear Theo, Enclosed you will find some interesting pages about color, namely the great principles which Delacroix believed in. Add to this “les anciens ne prenaient pas par la ligne, mais par...