Sunday, February 21, 2010

Paint Of Life

Vincent van Gogh painted a lot of self-portraits, experimenting with various techniques and approaches (and saving money on a model!). Many, including this one, are not finished to the same level of detail throughout, but are psychologically powerful nonetheless. Van Gogh's style of self-portrait (the poses, the intense brushwork, the introspective expression) influenced the portraits created by Expressionist painters such as Emil Nolde, Erich Heckel, and Lovis Corinth.

Vincent van Gogh believed that "Painted portraits have a life of their own, something that comes from the roots of the painter's soul, which a machine cannot touch. The more often people look at photos, the more they will feel this, it seems to me."
(Letter from Vincent van Gogh to his brother, Theo van Gogh, from Antwerp, c.15 December 1885.)

This self-portrait is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which opened in 1973. The museum holds some 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters by Van Gogh, as well as his personal collection of Japanese prints. The works originally belonged to Vincent's brother Theo (1857-1891), then passed to his wife, and then her son, Vincent Willem van Gogh (1890-1978). In 1962 he transferred the works to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, where they form the nucleus of the Van Gogh Museum's collection.


BlossomFlowerGirl said...

I guessed it was Van Gough even before I read your post. It's funny how artists struggled in penury yet became famous after death and their paintings sell for millions.
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