Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 in Holland. Van Gogh worked various jobs before becoming a theology student in Amsterdam. But because of both professional and personal failures Van Gogh decided to 'comfort the humble' and he went to live and work in a mining community. While working and living in the mining community Van Gogh found himself drawn more and more to art.
So in 1880 Vincent moved to Brussels and then to Antwerp to study painting. Van Gogh didn't start his career in art until he was 27. He soon began to follow the influence of impressionism and began his own style (Rewald 225). Throughout Van Gogh's life he battled with insanity, which could explain the painting of himself with his ear bandaged. It is thought that Van Gogh might have ate his lead paint which could have possible caused his insanity. Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most influential contributors to the post-impressionist movement even though his paintings were not respected or accepted in his own time.
Post-impressionism refers not to a collective style but to a time period, which falls between 1880 and 1910. Such a term as post-impressionism indicates the increasingly fragmented artistic scene that would come to characterize modern art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Stokstad 1039). During Van Gogh's final years he began to paint in a very expressionistic manner because of his heightened emotional state at the insane asylum. Van Gogh used these feeling to paint in a more emotional style than in a realistic style. This emotional state can explain some of his paintings like 'The Starry Night'. This painting was created while in the insane asylum and its seems like Van Gogh was already thinking about his death and about moving to a heavenly place above in the stars (web).
Vincent's painting style was like a child's painting with his simplicity of color and the roughness of his brushstrokes. He was greatly influenced by realism because he wanted to create what was actually there with his bright colors put on the canvas in a rough style (Rewald 228). Van Gogh was well know for his use of primary colors placed next to each other in large amounts that balance out as the viewer move back from the painting. Van Gogh's style for his self-portrait took after the style that Georges Seurat created called pointillism.
Van Gogh would put the paint on the canvas using only a paint spatula so his painting would have a large amount of texture and these globs of paint were very much like the dots of paint Seurat used in his paintings (web). In the self portrait of Van Gogh with his eat bandaged you can see the individual globs of paint which when placed next to each other give the painting texture. Van Gogh was also greatly influenced by Japanese art and added his interpretation of a Japanese print to his self-portrait in the background. Van Gogh used the simplicity of the Japanese forms combined with his use of primary colors in many of his paintings (Stokstad 1038).
Van Gogh's style could be seen as harsh and crude compared to many other painter of his time but this harshness is what sets him apart from other artists. While his style was not accepted in his time soon in the future critics saw Van Gogh's profound impact on modern art, and his primitive and crude style of painting set a starting point that many artists followed to move forward into modernism (web). Vincent Van Gogh's self portrait with bandaged ear was created in the hospital after Vincent had cut off part of his own ear. He created this work in 1889 near the end of his life.
Vincent had been in an argument with his good friend Gauguin, a fellow artist that Vincent invited to come to Arles to work with him, and Vincent threatened Gauguin with a knife. So instead of cutting Gauguin, Vincent acting on his insanity cut a piece of his own ear off and then later sent that piece of ear to a prostitute (Stokstad 1038). Vincent Van Gogh spent the end of his life in an insane asylum that he committed himself to after feeling that he was becoming a burden on his brother. He continued to create inside the institution and created some of his greatest works while inside (web). In 1890 Vincent Van Gogh committed suicide after he had lost his battle with his insanity. Van Gogh only painted from when he was 27 until he was 37 when he committed suicide, which was the same time that many say that he was at the height of his creative work.
Van Gogh didn't start painting until he was 27 and only was able to create for 10 years and he is still one of the greatest contributors to the Post-impressionist movement (Hammacher 35). Although Van Gogh created his self-portrait with bandaged ear at the end of his life, which was when he was at his creative genius, I feel that this was one of his weaker self-portrait paintings. I feel this painting is less finished than many of his other self-portraits and lacks the quality of many of his other paintings. Although I feel that this painting falls short of many of his other paintings I feel that it better expresses Van Gogh's inner torment. You can see the agony in his face and especially his eyes.
His eyes show the fear he has of himself. You can almost see his insanity taking over his soul. I don't really see this painting as one of Van Gogh's masterpieces but I greatly enjoy it for its meaning and the emotion that it expresses. It seems to me that this is about the point where Van Gogh began to paint with a greater emphasis on emotion than on his earlier works. Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most tormented and tortured artists of all time.
His insanity not only lead to his own suicide but might have also been the major factor in his creativity at the end of his life. Van Gogh was greatly criticized during his lifetime and his style was never accepted during his time. But, now he is one of the most highly publicized artists of all time. With many of his painting selling for millions and millions of dollars (Rewald 230).
Vincent Van Gogh along with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, and Paul Gauguin are now seen to be the main artists of the post-impressionist period. These painters were also at the beginning of the Modernism movement (Stokstad 1025). Although Van Gogh was only painted for 10 years his genius and style has lasted through the ages and his works are seen as brilliant and inspirational today. Bibliography 'The art of Vincent Van Gogh', web 27 April 1999.' Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890', web 27 April 1999. Hammacher, A. M.
and R. Van Gogh: A Documentary Biography. New York: MacMillan, 1982. Rewald, John. Post Impressionist from Van Gogh to Gauguin. New York: Museum of modern art.
1989. Stokstad, Marylyn. Art History. New York: Harry n. Abrams, Inc. , and Preston Hall, Inc, 1999..