The Agony and the Ecstasy (novel)
The Agony and the Ecstasy is a biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarroti written by American author Irving Stone. Stone lived in Italy for years visiting many of the locations in Rome and Florence worked in marble quarries and apprenticed himself to a marble sculptor. A primary source for the novel is Michelangelo's correspondence, all 495 letters of which Stone had translated from Italian by Charles Speroni and published in 1962 as I, Sculptor. Stone collaborated with Canadian sculptor Stanley Lewis, who researched Michelangelo's carving technique and tools; the Italian government lauded Stone with several honorary awards for his cultural achievements highlighting Italian history. Stone wrote some biographical novels, but this one and Lust for Life are best known, in large part because both had major Hollywood film adaptations. Part of the 1961 novel was adapted to film in The Agony and the Ecstasy, starring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. After Ghirlandaio looks at Michelangelo’s sketches of Christ drawn with a stonemason as the model, he tells Michelangelo the story of Donatello showing his newly carved crucifix to Brunelleschi.
Brunelleschi observes that it seems to him Donatello has, “put a plowman on the cross, rather than the body of Jesus Christ, most delicate in all its parts." Donatello, upset by his friend’s criticism, challenges Brunelleschi to make Christ’s figure himself. When Brunelleschi presents his own, newly finished crucifix, “Donatello, who could not take his eyes off the beautiful Christ, answered, ‘It is your work to make Christs, mine to make plowmen.’” Michelangelo, familiar with both carvings, tells Ghirlandaio that he “preferred Donatello’s plowman to Brunelleschi’s ethereal Christ, so slight that it looked as though it had been created to be crucified. With Donatello’s figure, the crucifixion had come as a horrifying surprise….” Ghirlandaio was working on the sketches for the Baptism of Christ, to be one of the scenes in the fresco of the Tornabuoni Choir. Though Ghirlandaio never mentions their conversation about the figure of Christ again, Michelangelo sees his preferred Christ in Ghirlandaio’s finished figure: “The legs twisted in an angular position, a little knock-kneed.
Michelangelo “sketched his roughhewn young contandino just in from the fields, naked except for his brache, kneeling to take off his clodhoppers. Behind him, he did two white-bearded assistants to John, with beauty in their faces and a rugged power in their figures, he experimented with flesh tones from his paint pots, enjoyed this culminating physical effort of bringing his figures to life, clothing them in warm-colored lemon-yellow and rose robes.” The book is mentioned in John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation as a book Paul, the protagonist, had completed. In the Mad Men season 2 episode "Flight 1", Peggy Olson's mother tells her daughters: "I have to renew The Agony and the Ecstasy. In the autobiographical adventure book Minus 148°, author Art Davidson mentions that he is reading The Agony and the Ecstasy while waiting out a blizzard on the first winter ascent of Denali. Irving Stone. I, Sculptor. 1962. Michelangelo's letters. Translated by Dr. Charles Speroni, professor of Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Includes a "list of characters."
Sunflowers (Van Gogh series)
Sunflowers is the name of two series of still life paintings by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The first series, executed in Paris in 1887, depicts the flowers lying on the ground, while the second set, executed a year in Arles, shows a bouquet of sunflowers in a vase. In the artist's mind both sets were linked by the name of his friend Paul Gauguin, who acquired two of the Paris versions. About eight months van Gogh hoped to welcome and to impress Gauguin again with Sunflowers, now part of the painted Décoration for the Yellow House that he prepared for the guestroom of his home in Arles, where Gauguin was supposed to stay. After Gauguin's departure, van Gogh imagined the two major versions as wings of the Berceuse Triptych, he included them in his Les XX in Bruxelles exhibit. Little is known of Van Gogh's activities during the two years he lived with his brother, Theo, in Paris, 1886–1888; the fact that he had painted Sunflowers is only revealed in the spring of 1889, when Gauguin claimed one of the Arles versions in exchange for studies he had left behind after leaving Arles for Paris.
Van Gogh was upset and replied that Gauguin had no right to make this request: "I am keeping my sunflowers in question. He has two of them let that hold him, and if he is not satisfied with the exchange he has made with me, he can take back his little Martinique canvas, his self-portrait sent me from Brittany, at the same time giving me back both my portrait and the two sunflower canvases which he has taken to Paris. So if he broaches this subject again, I've told you just how matters stand." The two Sunflowers in question show two buttons each. These were Van Gogh's first paintings with "nothing but sunflowers"—yet, he had included sunflowers in still life and landscape earlier. In a letter to Theo, dating from 21 or 22 August 1888, Vincent wrote: "I'm painting with the gusto of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won’t surprise you when it's a question of painting large sunflowers." At this time he had three paintings on the go, intended to do more. Nothing but large sunflowers". Leaving aside the first two versions, all Arlesian Sunflowers are painted on size 30 canvases.
None meets the descriptions supplied by van Gogh himself in his announcement of the series in every detail. The first version differs in size, is painted on a size 20 canvas—not on a size 15 canvas as indicated—and all the others differ in the number of flowers depicted from van Gogh's announcement; the second was evidently enlarged and the initial composition altered by insertion of the two flowers lying in the foreground and right. Neither the third nor the fourth shows the dozen or 14 flowers indicated by the artist, but more—fifteen or sixteen; these alterations are executed wet-in-wet and therefore considered genuine rework—even the more so as they are copied to the repetitions of January 1889. Both repetitions of the 4th version are no longer in their original state. In the Amsterdam version a strip of wood was added at the top—probably by van Gogh himself; the Tokyo version, was enlarged on all sides with strips of canvas, which were added at a time—presumably by the first owner, Émile Schuffenecker.
The series is van Gogh's best known and most reproduced. In the 2000s debate arose regarding the authenticity of one of the paintings, it has been suggested that this version may have been the work of Émile Schuffenecker or of Paul Gauguin. Most experts, conclude that the work is genuine. In January 1889, when Vincent had just finished the first repetitions of the Berceuse and the Sunflowers pendants, he told Theo: "I picture to myself these same canvases between those of the sunflowers, which would thus form torches or candelabra beside them, the same size, so the whole would be composed of seven or nine canvases."A definite hint for the arrangement of the triptych is supplied by Van Gogh's sketch in a letter of July 1889. That year, Vincent selected both versions for his display at Les XX, 1890. Van Gogh continued into the following year. One went to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin's bedroom; the paintings show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum because newly invented pigments made new colours possible.
In a letter to Theo, Vincent wrote: "It's a type of painting that changes its aspect a little, which grows in richness the more you look at it. Besides, you know, he said to me about them, among other things: ‘that —... that's... the flower’. You know that Jeannin has the peony, Quost has the hollyhock, but I have the sunflower, in a way." On March 30, 1987, Japanese insurance magnate Yasuo Goto paid the equivalent of US $39,921,750 for van Gogh's Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers at auction at Christie's London, at the time a record-setting amount for a work of art. The price was over three times the previous record of about $12 million paid for Andrea Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi in 1985; the record was broken a few months with the purchase of another Van Gogh, Irises, by Alan Bond for $53.9 million at Sotheby's, New York on November 11, 1987. While it is uncertain whether Yasuo Goto bought the painting himself or on behalf of his company, the Yasuda Fire and Marine Insurance Company of Japan, the painting resides at
Still life paintings by Vincent van Gogh (Paris)
Still life paintings by Vincent van Gogh is the subject of many drawings and paintings by Vincent van Gogh in 1886 and 1887 after he moved to Montmartre in Paris from the Netherlands. While in Paris, Van Gogh transformed the subjects and techniques that he used in creating still life paintings, he saw the work and met the founders and key artists of Impressionism and other movements and began incorporating what he learned into his work. Japanese art, Ukiyo-e, woodblock prints influenced his approach to composition and painting. There was a gradual change from the somber mood of his work in the Netherlands to a far more varied and expressive approach as he began introducing brighter color into his work, he painted many still life paintings of flowers, experimenting with color and techniques he learned from several different modern artists before moving on to other subjects. By 1887, his work incorporated several elements of modern art as he began to approach his mature oeuvre. Excellent examples are the Pairs of Shoes paintings, where in the space of four paintings one can observe the difference between the first pair of boots made in 1886, similar to some of his earlier peasant paintings from Nuenen, to the painting made in 1887 that incorporates complementary, contrasting colors and use of light.
Another example are the Blue Vases paintings made in 1887 that incorporate both color and technique improvements that result in uplifting, colorful paintings of flowers. In the spring of 1887, Van Gogh left the city proper for a visit to Asnières with his friend Émile Bernard. While there his work was further transformed stylistically and through the use of bright, contrasting color and light. See his works from Asnières and Seine. From 1880 to 1885, Van Gogh began working as an artist in earnest, he was influenced not only by the great Dutch masters but to a considerable extent by his cousin-in-law Anton Mauve a Dutch realist painter and a leading member of the Hague School. Van Gogh's palette consisted of dark earth tones dark brown, his brother Theo, an art dealer, commented that his work was too somber to be marketable and encouraged him to explore modern art Impressionism for its bright, colorful paintings. In 1886, Van Gogh left the Netherlands and traveled to Paris to explore emerging artistic movements under the guidance and continued support of his brother Theo van Gogh, an art dealer.
Surprised that Vincent had come to Paris unannounced, in opposition to their conversations about timing of his arrival, Vincent stayed in Theo's apartment on Rue Laval until a larger apartment could be acquired. For four months, Van Gogh studied with Fernand Cormon, painting plaster casts, live nude models and props available at Cormon's studio. Cormon encouraged open-air painting. There he met Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin. Through Theo and artistic social circles he met Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin. Through the fellowship with these men, he was introduced to Impressionists, Symbolists and Japanese art, Ukiyo-e, woodcut prints. In spite of his unusual demeanor, disheveled clothes and time frightening manner, Paris was the one place where Van Gogh developed friendships with other artists. So much so that when Toulouse-Lautrec heard disparaging remarks against Van Gogh, he challenged the man to a duel. Seeing and trading artwork with the Parisian avant-garde artists, Van Gogh understood what Theo had been trying to tell him for years about modern art.
He was able to experiment with each of the movements to develop his own style, becoming what some say is "one of the most important artists in modern art." Romanticism was an literature movement formed by people looking to escape the drab world. Its characteristics are paintings of "exotic lands" with intense color. Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli developed a individual Romantic style of painting with richly colored and textured painting and glazed surfaces. Monticelli was a French painter of the generation preceding the Impressionists, friends with Narcisse Diaz, a member of the Barbizon school, the two painted together in the Fontainebleau Forest. Vincent van Gogh admired his work after seeing it in Paris when he arrived there in 1886. Van Gogh was influenced by the richness. In 1890, Van Gogh and his brother Theo were instrumental in publishing the first book about Monticelli; the Impressionism movement was a change from traditional artistic techniques. With Impressionism the intention was to depict colors and images the way they are seen, not the way that artists were taught to paint them.
Aspects of Impressionism include using gleaming spots of light, color in shadows, colors straight from the tube in dots or dashes, dissolving firm outlines. Van Gogh was influenced by Impressionists Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, but more so by Neo-impressionist Georges Seurat because of the use of dots of contrasting colors to intensify the image, a technique called Pointillism. Van Gogh likened painting with constructing small, thoughtfully placed dashes of color to writing "words in a speech or a letter". Cloisonnism is a style of Post-impressionist painting with bold and flat forms separated by dark contours; the term was coined by critic Edouard Dujardin on occasion of the Salon des Indépendants, in March 1888. Artists Émile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, Paul Gauguin, Paul Sérusier, others started painting in this style in the late 19th century; the name evokes the technique of cloisonné, where wires are soldered to the body of the piece, filled with powdered glass, fired. Many o
Montmartre (Van Gogh series)
The Montmartre paintings are a group of works that Vincent van Gogh made in 1886 and 1887 of the Paris district of Montmartre while living there with his brother Theo. Rather than capture urban settings in Paris, van Gogh preferred pastoral scenes, such as Montmartre and Asnières in the northwest suburbs. Of the two years in Paris, the work from 1886 has the dark, somber tones of his early works from the Netherlands and Brussels. By the spring of 1887, van Gogh embraced use of color and light and created his own brushstroke techniques based upon Impressionism and Pointillism; the works in the series provide examples of his work during that period of time and the progression he made as an artist. In 1886, van Gogh left the Netherlands for Paris and the guidance of his brother Theo van Gogh, an art dealer. While he had been influenced not only by the great Dutch masters but to a considerable extent by his cousin-in-law Anton Mauve a Dutch realist painter and a leading member of the Hague School.
Coming to Paris meant that he would have the opportunity to be influenced by Impressionists, Symbolists and Japanese art. His circle of friends included Camille Pissarro, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and Émile Bernard. Montmartre, sitting on a butte overlooking Paris, was known for its bars and dance-hall, it was located on the edge of countryside that afforded Van Gogh the opportunity to work on paintings of rural settings while living in Paris. When Van Gogh painted he intended not just to capture the subject, but to express a message or meaning, it was through his paintings of nature. It created a great challenge: how to portray the subject and create a work that would resonate with the audience; the Boulevard de Clichy, a street in Montmartre, played an important role in van Gogh's life in Paris. The Café du Tambourin was located there, a restaurant just around the corner from the apartment where he lived with his brother Theo. There van Gogh displayed some of his works, he had a relationship with the owner of the establishment, Agostina Segatori, the subject in one of his paintings Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Café du Tambourin.
Located on the boulevard was the studio of Fernand Cormon, where van Gogh received training, as well as the Moulin Rouge and the homes of several of his friends, who he referred to as "Impressionistes du Petit Boulevard": John Russell, Georges-Pierre Seurat and Paul Signac. The painting of the Boulevard is Impressionistic in terms of technique. Van Gogh used short brush strokes to depict the figures of the buildings. Light is reflected off the road. Capturing a moment in a street scene was a common theme for Impressionists; the vantage point for the painting was looking northwest from Place Blanche. Rue Lepic's entrance is on the right side of the painting. Van Gogh made a drawing of this site from a greater distance. Van Gogh created a number of paintings titled Le Moulin de la Galette, called Moulin Bloute-Fin. In van Gogh’s first year in Paris he painted rural areas around Montmartre, such as the butte and its windmills; the colors evoke a sense of his anxiety and loneliness. The landscape and windmills around Montmartre were the source of inspiration for a number of van Gogh's paintings.
The Moulin de la Galette, still standing, is located near the apartment. Built in 1622, it was called Blute-Fin and belonged to the Debray family in the 19th century. Van Gogh met artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac and Paul Gauguin who inspired him to incorporate Impressionism into his artwork resulting in lighter, more colorful paintings. Windmills featured in some of van Gogh's landscape paintings of Montmartre; the Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry was but one of van Gogh's paintings of the Montmartre countryside. The apartment where he lived with his brother bordered the countryside and overlooked the city of Paris. At the time the painting was made, the country landscape was beginning to disappear as a result of the city's expansion. Soon the fields and windmills would disappear from the Montmartre area. Van Gogh draws the audience in by use of the diagonal line of fences to the windmill just right of the center of the picture; this technique established depth in the work. Montmatre's vegetable gardens, fenced in blocks for security and to separate the allotted spaces, supplied the Paris markets with spinach, lettuce and other vegetables.
Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre: La Butte Montmartre depicts the changing landscape of the Montmartre landscape. In the foreground are allotted vegetable gardens with people working in their allotments. Although still somewhat rural, a large apartment building is constructed in the fields; the three remaining windmills in the area had now become a source of entertainment and respite from working in the city. Le Blute-Fin called Le Moulin de la Galette was the largest standing mill offering a café and a terraced viewing platform for looking over Paris from behind the mill. Between the mills are dining establishments and dance halls, he used techniques he picked up from the Impressionists and Pointillists, such as use of short brush strokes or dots of color. The colors are much brighter than the somber colors. Vegetable Gardens in Montmartre: La Butte Montmartre, the same name as painting F346, was selected by Van Gogh for his first exhibition in 1888 in Paris. Both paintings reflect how much he had learned since he came to Paris and were made on the same hill.
The summery landscape depicts the vegetable gardens with the city skyline in the dista
The Potato Eaters
The Potato Eaters is an oil painting by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh painted in April 1885 in Nuenen, Netherlands. It is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; the original oil sketch of the painting is at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, he made lithographs of the image, which are held in collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The painting is considered to be one of Van Gogh's masterpieces. During March and the beginning of April 1885 he sketched studies for the painting, corresponded with his brother Theo, not impressed with his current work or the sketches Van Gogh sent him in Paris, he worked on the painting from April 13 until the beginning of May, when it was done except for minor changes which he made with a small brush the same year. Van Gogh said he wanted to depict peasants as they were, he deliberately chose coarse and ugly models, thinking that they would be natural and unspoiled in his finished work: "You see, I have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, so it speaks of manual labor and—that they have thus earned their food.
I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours—civilized people. So I don’t want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why."Writing to his sister Willemina two years in Paris, Van Gogh still considered The Potato Eaters his most successful painting: "What I think about my own work is that the painting of the peasants eating potatoes that I did in Nuenen is after all the best thing I did". However, the work was criticized by his friend Anthon van Rappard; this was a blow to Van Gogh's confidence as an emerging artist, he wrote back to his friend, "you...had no right to condemn my work in the way you did", "I am always doing what I can't do yet in order to learn how to do it.". Vincent van Gogh is known to have admired the Belgian painter Charles de Groux and in particular his work The blessing before supper. De Groux' work is a solemn depiction of a peasant family saying grace before supper; the painting was linked to Christian representations of the Last Supper.
Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters was inspired by this work of de Groux and similar religious connotations can be identified in van Gogh's work. Van Gogh made a lithograph of the composition The Potato Eaters before embarking on the painting proper, he sent impressions to his brother, in a letter to a friend, wrote that he made the lithograph from memory in the space of a day. Van Gogh had first experimented with lithography in The Hague in 1882. Though he appreciated small scale graphic work and was an enthusiastic collector of English engravings he worked little in graphic mediums. In a letter dated around 3 December 1882 he remarks I believe, that it would be a great mistake to imagine that such things as, for instance, the print The Grace were created at a stroke in their final form. No, in most cases the solidity and pith of the small is only obtained through much more serious study than is imagined by those who think of the task of illustrating... Anyway, some paintings in their huge frames look substantial, one is surprised when they leave behind such an empty and dissatisfied feeling.
On the other hand, one overlooks many an unpretentious woodcut or lithograph or etching now and but comes back to it and becomes more and more attached to it with time, senses something great in it. Van Gogh is associated in people's minds with the Post-Impressionist movement, but in fact his artistic roots lay much closer to home in the artists of the Hague School such as Anton Mauve and Jozef Israëls. In a letter to his brother Theo written mid-June 1884, Vincent remarks: When I hear you talk about a lot of new names, it’s not always possible for me to understand when I’ve seen nothing by them, and from what you said about ‘Impressionism’, I’ve grasped that it’s something different from what I thought it was, but it’s still not clear to me what one should understand by it. But for my part, I find so tremendously much in Israëls, for instance, that I’m not curious about or eager for something different or newer. Before Vincent painted The Potato Eaters Israëls had treated the same subject in his A Peasant Family at the Table and judging from a comment in a letter to Theo 11 March 1882, Vincent had seen this and had been inspired by it to produce his own version of it.
Compositionally the two are similar: in both paintings the composition of the painting is centered by a figure whose back is turned to the viewer. As well as an interest gained by A Peasant Family at the Table, Vincent had an appreciation for a simpler lifestyle. Vincent was known to disregard the finer things, he once wrote in a letter to his brother Theo, When I receive money if I've fasted, isn't for food, but is stronger for painting meanwhile the lifeline I cling to is my breakfast with the people where I live, a cup of coffee and bread in the cremerie in the evening... Van Gogh seemed to identify with the middle class, although he was from a family who were quite well-off; the subject was that of the harsh reality of life in the working class. He simply admired the sustainability of the potato, or aardappel in Dutch. Aardappel translates to "earth apple," which paints an idea of a simpler, hearty lifestyle. Thieves stole the early version of The Potato Eaters, the Weaver's Interior
Almond Blossoms is from a group of several paintings made in 1888 and 1890 by Vincent van Gogh in Arles and Saint-Rémy, southern France of blossoming almond trees. Flowering trees were special to van Gogh, they represented hope. He found joy in painting flowering trees; the works reflect the influence of Impressionism and Japanese woodcuts. Almond Blossom was made to celebrate the birth of his nephew and namesake, son of his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo. In 1888 van Gogh became inspired in southern France and began the most productive period of his painting career. In connection with their painting Farmhouse in Provence, the National Gallery of Art notes that "It was sun that van Gogh sought in Provence, a brilliance and light that would wash out detail and simplify forms, reducing the world around him to the sort of pattern he admired in Japanese woodblocks. Arles, he said, was "the Japan of the South." Here, he felt, the flattening effect of the sun would strengthen the outlines of compositions and reduce nuances of color to a few vivid contrasts.
Pairs of complements—the red and green of the plants, the woven highlights of oranges and blue in the fence the pink clouds that enliven the turquoise sky — vibrate against each other." When van Gogh arrived in Arles in March 1888 fruit trees in the orchards were about to bloom. The blossoms of the apricot and plum trees motivated him, within a month he had created fourteen paintings of blossoming fruit trees. Excited by the subject matter, van Gogh completed nearly one painting a day. Around April 21 he wrote to Theo, that he "will have to seek something new, now the orchards have finished blossoming." Van Gogh's work reflected his interest in Japanese wood block prints. Hiroshige's Plum Park in Kameido demonstrates portrayal of beautiful subject matter with flat patterns of colors and no shadow. Van Gogh used the term Japonaiserie to express this influence. Hiroshige was one of the last great masters of the Japanese genre called ukiyo-e. Van Gogh integrated some of the technical aspects of ukiyo-e into his work as his two 1887 homages to Hiroshige demonstrates.
The Japanese paintings represent Van Gogh's search for serenity, which he describes in a letter to his sister, "Having as much of this serenity as possible though one knows little – nothing – for certain, is a better remedy for all diseases than all the things that are sold at the chemist's shop." The southern region and the flowering trees seems to awakened van Gogh from his doldrums into a state of clear direction, hyper-activity and good cheer. He wrote, "I am up to my ears in work for the trees are in blossom and I want to paint a Provençal orchard of astonishing gaiety." While in the past a active period would have drained him, this time he was invigorated. Vincent wrote to Theo, "Down here it is freezing hard and there is still snow in the countryside," and he has "two small studies of an almond-tree branch in flower in spite of it." The two studies are Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass and Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass with a Book. Although fruit trees were about to bloom when Vincent arrived in Arles, the town had just received a layer of snow, driving van Gogh inside for his first week in Arles where he worked on still life, such as a branch from an almond tree.
To reflect the early signs of spring, he used delicate brushstrokes and pastel shades for Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass. In Art Inspiring Transmutations of Life, Bruce Ross evaluates the Impressionists' effect on van Gogh's work, "Van Gogh's bright Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass embodies these streams* while exploring Japanese aesthetic values. A broken-off sprig is set in a simple glass; the sprig is highlighted by a red line along lavish empty space. There is no formal decorative intent. Van Gogh's name in bright red, hovers above a sprig in the upper left as if a symbol of hope. Van Gogh has transformed the still life with the help of these values, he has imbued a form predicated on death to one focused on possibility. His use of bright color reflects this. There is an individual, hence essential, character to his subject, a sprig of almond buds and opening blossoms; this still life resembles the Japanese art of flower arrangement, ikebana, in its simplicity and evoked hopefulness as well as in its formal use of empty space."
Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass painted by van Gogh In mid-March 1888 van Gogh writes of the weather and that the almond trees are coming into full flower, "The weather here is changeable windy with turbulent skies, but the almond trees are beginning to flower everywhere."Mancoff says of flowering trees and this work, "In his flowering trees, Vincent attained a sense of spontaneity, freeing himself from the strict self-analytical approach he took in Paris. In Almond Tree in Blossom, Vincent used the light, broken strokes of impressionism and the dabs of colour of divisionism for a sparkling surface effect; the distinctive contours of the tree and its position in the foreground recall the formal qualities of Japanese prints." The rendering of Almond Blossom is positioned close and accessible to the viewer and the branches appear to reach out beyond the painting's frame. Theo wrote to his brother Vincent on January 31, 1890 to announce the birth of his son, Vincent Willem van Gogh; as a means of celebration, Vincent began work on a painting for his wife.
He was close to his brother and he sought to symbolize new life in the flowers of the almond tree for the birth of baby Vincent. Vincent wrote to his mother of th
Portraits by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh lived during the Impressionist era. With the development of photography and artists turned to conveying the feeling and ideas behind people and things rather than trying to imitate their physical forms. Impressionist artists did this by emphasizing certain hues, using vigorous brushstrokes, paying attention to highlighting. Vincent van Gogh implemented this ideology to pursue his goal of depicting his own feelings toward and involvement with his subjects. Van Gogh's portraiture focuses on color and brushstrokes to demonstrate their inner qualities and van Gogh's own relationship with them. Vincent van Gogh painted portraits throughout his career from 1881 through 1890. Van Gogh was fascinated with making portraits early in his artistic career, he wrote to his brother, Theo while studying in The Hague, "I want to do a drawing that not quite everybody will understand, the figure simplified to the essentials, with a deliberate disregard of those details that do not belong to the actual character and are accidental."
As an example, he discussed having their parents pose for a painting, but that, in capturing the character of a "poor village clergyman" or "a couple who have grown old together in love and fidelity", they may not appreciate the work, because in doing so the painting would not be an exact likeness. So, he considered it a "serious matter" to focus on their character, one where his approach should be trusted. Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in November 1882 that he had drawn a portrait of Jozef Blok, a street bookseller, sometimes called "Binnenhof's outdoor librarian". Unlike the character studies, the work was detailed in pencil with chalk. At this time it was rare for Van Gogh to use color. In November 1882 Van Gogh began drawings of individuals to depict a range of character types from the working class; the "peasant genre" that influenced Van Gogh began in the 1840s with the works of Jean-François Millet, Jules Breton, others. In 1885 Van Gogh described the painting of peasants as the most essential contribution to modern art.
Van Gogh held laborers up to a high standard of how dedicatedly he should approach painting, "One must undertake with confidence, with a certain assurance that one is doing a reasonable thing, like the farmer who drives his plow... drags the harrow behind himself. If one hasn't a horse, one is one's own horse." To depicting the essence of the life of the peasant and their spirit, Van Gogh lived as they lived, he was in the fields as they were, enduring the weather or long hours as they were. To do so was not something taught in schools, he noted, became frustrated by traditionalists who focused on technique more so than the nature of the people being captured. So engaged in living the peasant lifestyle, his appearance and manner of speech began to separate himself from others, but this was a cost he believed he needed to bear for his artistic development. Van Gogh described his sitter for this painting a "wonderful old man." It was made in Antwerp where Van Gogh hoped to bring in money to support himself by painting portraits.
Van Gogh made a series of paintings of Sien Hoornik, a prostitute whom he met and took in when he lived at The Hague. Included in the series are works of Sien's daughter, her newborn son and her mother. Van Gogh visited Café du Tambourin run by Agostina Segatori, the subject of this painting. An artist's model to Manet and Corot and others, the Naples-born Agostina saved the money she earned working as a model and opened the Italian themed Café du Tambourin in 1885, which catered to artists; the Italian Woman called Le Italienne is "without doubt" Agostina Segatori, per the Musée d'Orsay. Van Gogh introduced elements of Japanese woodcut prints in this portrait. Agostina is portrayed without shadows. Surrounding her image is an asymmetrical border with a monochromatic background, he brings, his own style and energy to the work as compared to the clean lines of the Asian prints. Complementary, contrasting colors of Neo-impressionism are used to bring intensity to the work: green against red and blue standing next to orange so that the paired colors are more vivid than they would be on their own.
Van Gogh creates his own style of brushstroke from Impressionism and Pointillism, in this case a "criss-cross of overlapping nervous hatching. He uses red and green in her face which he described as a technique "to be able to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green"; the Portrait of Etienne-Lucien Martin was made of the owner of a restaurant in Paris. He allowed artists to exhibit their work. In November 1887 Van Gogh and his friends showed their works. Van Gogh made the painting of Martin with precision; the colors within the portrait itself and the background were subdued, painted with delicate brushstrokes. The gentleman's face, has stripes of colors across the cheeks. Art dealer Pierre Firmin-Martin, a friend of Van Gogh's brother Theo, displayed some of Van Gogh's paintings. Mother by a Cradle, Portrait of Leonie Rose Davy-Charbuy was made of Martin's niece who lived with her uncle. Reflective of the family's interest in art, paintings hang in the background. In the year the painting was made Theo commented that Van Gogh done a good job painting portraits but had never asked for payment.
Portrait of Père Tanguy, painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1887, is one of three paintings of Julien Tanguy. The three works demonstrate a progression in Van Gogh's artistic style since arriving in Paris; the first painting is somber and the composition is simple. In the second painting Van Gogh in