Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh’s oil paintings are amongst the most famous paintings in the world. Van Gogh’s popularity lies in the bold use of colour and imagination that he put into his art. Van Gogh’s post-impressionist style remains popular with art lovers and his classic 19th century paintings are displayed in major exhibitions around the world.
Sadly, Vincent suffered regular anxiety attacks and periods of mental illness which led to his premature death at a point where his art was finally starting to achieve success.
The early years for Vincent was troubled as he struggled to stick long term to a career plan. Failure was also common for him in the different occupations that he tried, with few people willing to accept his sometimes volatile character.
Van Gogh’s career can be broadly categorised into different locations that he travelled and lived in as his life went through his artistic period. These locations covered Nuenen, Antwerp, Paris, Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise. This famous Dutch artist is best know for what he achieved in the French countryside where he started to find a relative comfort and source of inspiration for his paintings.
Vincent’s brother Theo was an art collector and importance stabiliser in Vincent’s life, constantly encouraging him and taking care of Vincent Van Gogh’s health. Whilst not entirely convinced by Vincent’s contemporary approach, Theo supported his brother and missed him immensely after his suicide, passing away himself soon after.
Theo was an important factor in stabilising his brother at various points in their relationship, though it was always like fighting a losing battle. Vincent was never far away from another relapse and Theo was unable to find enough free time to keep as close an eye on his brother as was necessary.
Ultimately, the best treatment for Vincent van Gogh was painting and this is how he became so productive in his later years – desperately trying to fend off his mental issues. At times the artist was painting at an incredible rate of two paintings a day. He would even paint over existing works that he disapproved of when running out of available blank canvases.
The bright landscapes of southern France seemed to offer him the inspiration that he required to find peace for periods, and natural surroundings seemed to work best with his expressive painting style. This was all a long way from his original Potato Eaters art work which was dark and moody. That came about very early on in his career before he started to take on such bolder colour combinations.
Van Gogh achieved academic and public respect in the modern era thanks to his bright impressionist art, but since then his darker periods have also begun to be appreciated too. Potato Eaters is regarded as the best of those in the way that it captures peasant life so personally, at a time when most artists would not include the poor in their work.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder was another artist who took great interest and inspiration from the lives of peasants. He would adorn huge landscapes with collections of them, all in a variety of different poses and activities to bring an energy and excitement to his work.
Another key influence on Van Gogh was Japanese art. The Dutchman created many woodblock prints based on original designs that had been imported from this fascinating country. He was just one of a number of notable artists to have been inspired by the work of this distant Asian country of whom much less was known than is now.
Up to the 19th century that had been little contact between Japan and the western world, and with less influence upon their art, Japanese artists had remained unique. Such differences offered established European artists like Van Gogh the opportunity to take their work in new directions, both in terms of style and the mediums that they used.
Claude Monet was also famous for drawing in Japanese influences, most notably when constructing a Japanese Bridge in his garden. This was a common study piece for his work and was a considerable logistical challenge for such an accurate reproduction. The bridge would also enable him to see his garden from more angles, creating more spots from which to capture his water lilies and other plants.
Van Gogh mixed with many key artists during his life which helped influence his work at different stages, though without ever losing his original magic or integrity. One such artist was Paul Signac who encouraged Vincent to use skills of pointillism and further advanced his knowledge of colour. Paul Gauguin also spent a lot of time with Vincent and they chose to challenge each other competitively to improve both’s output.
Gauguin lived together with van Gogh for a short period before their personalities clashed to the point where they couldn’t bear to be around each other any more. Gauguin saw qualities in the work of his friend that others did not at that time. He also purchased several of the Sunflowers series and hung them up in their shared house.
You can see a full list of famous Van Gogh paintings below:
- The Night Café
- The Yellow House
- Falling Autumn Leaves
- L’allée des Alyscamps
- Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers
- Starry Night Over the Rhone
- The Starry Night
- The Caravans Gipsy Camp near Arles
- Portrait of a Man
- Milliet Second Lieutenant
- Paul Gauguin Armchair
- The Church at Auvers
- Portrait of Dr. Gachet
- Thatched Cottages by a Hill
- Wheat Field with Crows
- Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat
- Potato Eaters
- A Wheatfield with Cypresses
- The Old Mill
- Sower with Setting Sun
- Mulberry Tree
- Vincents Chair with Pipe
- Moulin de la Galetter
- Open Bible
- Postman Joseph Roulin
- Adeline Ravoux
- Still Life with Roses and Anemones
- Gordina de Groot
- Four Cut Sunflowers
- Apricot Trees in Blossom
- Mother Roulin with Her Baby
- Old Woman of Arles
- Oise Riverside
- Houses at Auvers