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Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art - Essay Example

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To understand, Van Gogh`s vision of color, painting technique, use of impasto and evidence of brushstrokes which takes on greater meaning and expression, you must understand not only his own biography and mental illness, but also the relationships with other artists, particularly Gauguin to understand what influenced the creation of his own art. …
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Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art

Throughout his brief but brilliant career as an artist, Van Gogh demonstrated not only a masterful conception of his art, but a willingness to explore new techniques and ideas to express the emotions of his subjects that he felt was essential to a proper display of art. Differing from the Impressionists in this regard, he felt all art’s purpose was essentially to capture emotions and to portray these emotions to a viewing public, to bring awareness to those most in position to do something about it as in his early years or to bring joy and happiness to those most in need of it in his later years. Tracing through his career, it can be seen how the artists of the Impressionist period had a significant effect upon Van Gogh’s own approach although he did not adopt their ideas wholeheartedly. Instead, he applied the techniques and theories he learned in Paris to the masterpieces he produced in southern France as a means of both celebrating the color and life of the area he so loved and expressing a higher sense of eternal love of the land and simple things through the subjects he selected. By looking carefully at the paintings produced during this period, it becomes possible to see the mature application of the techniques he developed as well as to understand the expressiveness these techniques afforded him. Unable and unwilling to separate his own emotions from his work, it also becomes possible to trace Van Gogh’s encroaching illness through these paintings and to gain a glimpse at the sensitivity of the man behind the paint. The style he developed remains uniquely his own, yet his attitudes toward art and its meaning gave birth to an entirely new approach by artists who followed after him – Expressionism. Despite many attempts, however, Van Gogh’s brilliance at applying paint to canvas for a unique effect has never been quite duplicated. ... Read More
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