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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Vincent van Gogh: Infusing Life and Heart into Each Brushstroke, Part 1 of 3



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Vincent van Gogh is one of the most prominent Post-Impressionist painters and is generally regarded as the greatest Dutch painter since Rembrandt van Rijn. After deciding to be an artist at the age of twenty-seven, he produced nearly 900 paintings and more than 1,000 works on paper in the short ten-year span of his artistic career. Through his arbitrary use of color, emphatic, unrestrained brushstrokes and contoured forms, along with the dynamic relationships expressed among his subjects, his emotions, and the viewers’ reactions, van Gogh had an enormous influence on Fauvism, Expressionism, and Modernism and continues to inspire artists up to the present day.

His works have also been highly sought after by art collectors since the latter half of the 20th century, and paintings such as “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers,” “Irises,” and “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” have continually been setting price records at auctions. Yet sadly, van Gogh constantly struggled with poverty while he was alive. Over time however, he did become fully recognized for his artistic genius, and on June 2, 1973, the Van Gogh Museum, honoring the iconic artist, opened in Amsterdam after ten years of preparation. He found consolation in art and took up drawing to record the people and their harsh living conditions in charcoal sketches. Meanwhile, he also discovered the solace that art could bring: “Art is to console those who are broken by life” and “leads to God.” From then on, Theo, who understood and believed in Vincent, assumed the role of Vincent’s financial benefactor, art promoter, and adviser. Theo had been close to Vincent since childhood, and the two brothers cherished a life-long friendship. Throughout his decade-long artistic career, nature and honest members of the working class, with which Vincent identified, remained two of his fondest subjects. “The Potato Eaters” is one of the most representative works from the period. This, Vincent’s first large-scale multi-figure work, is regarded as one of his masterpieces, and is now under the care of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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