Van Gogh: The Expressionist Essay

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"What lives in art and is eternally living, is first of all the painter, and then the painting." - Vincent Van Gogh Expressionism is an art form in which the very style itself and the symbols that the artist uses are meant to express his innermost feelings on the subject. Vincent van Gogh has often been hailed as the quintessential expressionist painter. His artwork covers a range of moods over the years, and his canvases are almost mirrors into his troubled soul. Vincent van Gogh lived a troubled life. He once described his childhood as " cold, gloomy and sterile." He alienated himself from his parents and siblings by being a stubborn and reclusive child. He was clumsy, uncommunicative, and lived an early life of…show more content…
His scenes are dark and hopeless, with few random splashes of light. This combination of personal shortcomings led to van Gogh’s stints with being an assistant teacher and a bookseller. He failed miserably in both cases. His parents, frustrated with supporting their "failure" of a son, begged him to become a minister. He entered into Theology, but soon realized that he lacked the ability to learn the math and foreign languages necessary. Nonetheless, he did eventually enter an evangelical school, and went on to become a local priest in Brussels. Van Gogh drew new inspiration from working with the poor peasant class in Brussels. While he found it extremely difficult to communicate his religious viewpoints to them, he was a saint in other ways. He was known to give away his own sparse clothing and money to help them. He became fascinated by their plight, but somehow, living with them began to draw him down to their level. Their harsh living conditions and suffering made him lose faith in religion. In effect, ironically, his congregation converted him! At this point in time, he became fascinated by their charcoal drawings and by scenes of everyday life in utter poverty. One of his most acclaimed paintings from this period is "The Potato Eaters." This depicts a set of elderly people during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. The colours are dark and dreary greys, blues, greens and browns, and they are sharing a sparse meal of potatoes and broth. One can
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