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Vincent Van Gogh: A True Inspiration

October 22, 2013
‘Self Portrait in a Felt Hat’, 1887 (oil on canvas)

‘Self Portrait in a Felt Hat’, 1887 (oil on canvas)

To celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary, we took a weekend trip to Amsterdam. I couldn’t let this trip pass without visiting the museum celebrating the life of one of my favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh.

I first studied the life and works of Van Gogh in high school, during my Higher level Art class. My memories from that course are mainly about some of his most famous works later in his life, including Starry Night (1889), Cafe Terrace at Night (1888) and his many self portraits including those with a bandaged ear.

This museum was fantastic. To see so many of Van Gogh’s works displayed together in a timeline, explaining the different styles he used and why he was experimenting with them, was fascinating. His move from earthy tones in The Potato Eaters to his use of contrasting primary and secondary colours (yellow with purple, red with green) was evident in the paintings displayed.

The Potato Eaters, 1885, oil on canvas, 82 cm × 114 cm

The Potato Eaters, 1885, oil on canvas, 82 cm × 114 cm

Irises, 1890, Oil on Canvas, 92 x 73.5 cm

Irises, 1890, Oil on Canvas, 92 x 73.5 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was wonderful to see his drawings and sketches, and to discover that he reused canvases either by painting over old paintings or using the backs of them. This shows that he was more concerned with the investigation and actual process of painting rather than any prospect of selling them (which he never did whilst alive).

I love that his subject matter included everything and anything, ranging from still lives of fruit, muddy boots and flowers to portraits, landscapes or the places he lived. He was influenced by the Masters that he worked with, his surroundings and from Japanese prints like many Post-Impressionist painters of the time. Whatever his inspiration, no one can argue that his works are masterpieces in history.

Garden with courting couples: Square Saint-Pierre, 1887, Oil on Canvas, 75 X 112.5cm

Garden with courting couples: Square Saint-Pierre, 1887, Oil on Canvas, 75 X 112.5cm

The yellow house ('The street'), 1888, Oil on Canvas, 72 X 91.5 cm

The yellow house (‘The street’), 1888, Oil on Canvas, 72 X 91.5 cm

The Harvest, 1888, Oil on Canvas, 73 X 92 cm

The Harvest, 1888, Oil on Canvas, 73 X 92 cm

Sunflowers, 1889, Oil on Canvas, 95 x 73 cm

Sunflowers, 1889, Oil on Canvas, 95 x 73 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recommend a visit to the Van Gogh Museum to anyone visiting Amsterdam. Find out more about the painter here

 

*The images shown here are shown in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Others referenced are displayed elsewhere.

 

 

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