Sunday, April 1, 2012

April A to Z Challenge Letter "A" = Artist #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z


Welcome to the April A to Z Challenge Day One! Today's letter is A. My word is = ARTIST.

I am going to share some of my favorite paintings from one of my favorite artists:  the one and only Vincent van Gogh. 
I am also going to share some of van Gogh's paintings that my daughter re-created about five years ago. Enjoy!
A mid to late 30s man gazing to the left with an intense expression, wearing a winter hat and green coat, sitting in front of a Japanese print
Vincent Willem van Gogh
March 30, 1853 - July 29, 1890
Vase w/ 3 Sunflowers '08 by L. D.




Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. 

He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life.

Vase with 3 Sunflowers by van Gogh
  In 1873, his firm transferred him to London, then to Paris. He became increasingly interested in religion; in 1876 Goupil dismissed him for lack of motivation. He became a teaching assistant in Ramsgate near London, then returned to Amsterdam to study theology in 1877.

After dropping out in 1878, he became a layman preacher in Belgium in a poor mining region known as the Borinage. He even preached down in the mines and was extremely concerned with the lot of the workers. He was dismissed after 6 months and continued without pay. During this period he started to produce charcoal sketches.

In the winter of 1885-1886 Van Gogh attended the art academy of Antwerp, Belgium.

Starry Night by van Gogh
Starry Night 2007 by L. Del Rosso
In 1888, when city life and living with his brothers proved too much, Van Gogh left Paris and went to Arles, Bouches-du-Rh, France. 

He was impressed with the local landscape and hoped to found an art colony. He decorated a "yellow house" and created a celebrated series of yellow sunflower paintings for this purpose. 

Only Paul Gauguin, whose simplified colour schemes and forms (known as synthetism) attracted van Gogh, followed his invitation. The admiration was mutual, and Gauguin painted van Gogh painting sunflowers. 

However their encounter ended in a quarrel. Van Gogh suffered a mental breakdown and cut off part of his left ear, which he gave to a startled prostitute friend. Gauguin left in December 1888.

Starry Night In Rhone

In May 1890 Vincent van Gogh left the clinic and went to the physician Paul Gachet, in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, where he was closer to his brother Theo, who had recently married. Gachet had been recommended to him by Pissarro; he had treated several artists before. 

Here van Gogh created his only etching: a portrait of the melancholic doctor Gachet. His depression aggravated. On July 27 of the same year, at the age of 37, after a fit of painting activity, van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He died two days later, with Theo at his side, who reported his last words as "La tristesse durera toujours" (French: "The sadness will last forever").

The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. 

According to art critic Robert Hughes, van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".

The Red Vineyard

The only painting he sold during his lifetime, The Red Vineyard, was created in 1888. It is now on display in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia.

Vincent van Gogh's mother threw away quite a number of his paintings during Vincent's life and even after his death. But she would live long enough to see her son become a world famous painter. 


Tomorrow's letter is "B" 
I hope you stop by and see what I have in store for you.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Happy Reading & Arrivederci!