Arts Everyday Living: Why Do We Love Van Gogh—From Self-Portraits to The Starry Night

Here are some insightful and creative responses of our Art Circle group!  Thank you!

Van Gogh is one of the most beloved artists in the history of art.  But have you ever considered why?  I’ve included some of my ideas and feelings below.  How about you?  Also, any favorite paintings by Vincent?  Or subjects such as portraits or landscapes or his interpretations of the stars?

In addition, there is a mini-gallery of other Van Gogh works of art at the end of the blog.

 

 

WHY DO WE LOVE VAN GOGH?

IS IT BECAUSE OF….

 

 HIS HONESTY

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1887, oil on wood panel, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan

 

 

AND INTENSITY?

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, oil on canvas, Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France

 

 

HIS HUMBLENESS?

Vincent van Gogh, A Pair of Boots, 1887, oil on canvas, Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland

The Chair and A Pair of Boots certainly are humble objects but painted with care and expression.  Daena Kluegel

 

 

OR HIS PASSION FOR NATURE

Vincent van Gogh, Enclosed Field with Rising Sun, 1889, oil on canvas, Private Collection

I think Van Gogh takes everything as necessary—you can see it in all the details and vibrancy–despite a life of much suffering, and also much pain, he never stops that deep dive into the Heat of Alive.  What catches me is the intensity–it is always reaching for more, more, going for the transcendence even when it might feel too much to bear.  Sandra Falconer

 

 

FROM BLOSSOMING ORCHARDS

Vincent van Gogh, Orchard with Blossoming Apricot Trees, 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

 

TO THE WHEAT FIELDS OF SUMMER

Vincent van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Wheat Field with Cypresses is amazing.  I feel like lying on my back and enjoying that amazing sky.  The cypresses soaring upward really pull the eye toward the heavens and seem to combine nature and the spiritual.   Kay Oshel

 

 

THE BEAUTY OF WILDFLOWERS

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life: Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies, 1887, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

 

 

AND SOULFUL SUNFLOWERS?

Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, 1888. oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, London, UK

I like Van Gogh for his colors, of course, and the way his art portrays a certain love or embracing of life, even when we know he was suffering.  Pat Fisher

 

 

HIS COMPASSION FOR HUMANITY

 

WHETHER THE POTATO EATERS

Vincent van Gogh, Potato Eaters, 1885, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Van Gogh!  I’m not sure what the draw is to his work, but he takes a passion and belief of the world he paints and doesn’t let go—I love that.  The wheat fields feel the winds, the stars feel the air that carries them, the potato eaters advise each other and don’t leave the room for some other unimportant thing.  Sandra Falconer

 

 

A FRIEND

Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Pure Tanguy, 1887, oil on canvas, Musee Rodin, Paris, France

 

 

A SPECIAL MODEL

Vincent van Gogh, La Mousmee, 1888, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 

 

OR HIS DOCTOR?

Vincent van Gogh, Dr. Gachet, 1890, oil on canvas, Private Collection

 

AND FINALLY, HIS JOURNEY TO THE STARS

 

BY THE RIVER

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888, oil on canvas, Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France

In Starry Night Over the Rhone, the golden reflections in the river seem to draw your eye to the opposite shore and then to Van Gogh’s magnificent stars.  Kay Oshel

I like that he doesn’t stroll by the world, picking a daisy there, putting a newspaper down over there.  He’s just taking everything in, even the stars that disappear come morning–he’s made them alive for all of us, every night, everywhere looking up, all over the big world.  Sandra Falconer

 

 

ALONG THE ROAD

Vincent van Gogh, Road with Cypress and Star, 1890, oil on canvas, Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

Another favorite. The dominating cypress, the road leading to the cottage, and golden foliage along the road, accent the sky that composes over half the painting.  Kay Oshel

 

 

AND FROM HIS WINDOW—A VISION OF HOPE

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York

The ultimate vision of the glory of the night sky and of the Creator.  Kay Oshel

In many of his paintings, Van Gogh’s vivid colors seem to stir my soul and make me feel soaring and very alive.  Kay Oshel

Van Gogh–Be Still My Heart!  Joan Kaufman

 

 

More Van Gogh selections:

Vincent van Gogh, Artist’s Bedroom, 1889, oil on canvas, Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France

Van Gogh, so remarkable and certainly of all those things and maybe after so many reflections, always a touch of his personal need of therapy that gives both reality and hope.  I think today we have some remarkable links of hope through art, music, even some of the other history and culture postings.  I almost need more hours of the day.  Carol Fuentevilla

 

Vincent van Gogh, Eugene Boch, 1888, oil on canvas, Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France

Vincent van Gogh, The Sower, 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I like the strong diagonal of the tree—and the sower–with a Blazing Yellow Sun for emphasis.  Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, Roses, 1890, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

In Roses, Van Gogh changes the palette to soft colors with dabs of white on the blooms.  It “feels” delicate like the flowers themselves.  Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888, oil on canvas, Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

Cafe Terrace at Night shows Van Gogh’s strong use of colors.  The lights and the stars pull the viewer into this painting (and the perspective makes me feel as if I’m involved in the scene).   Does it strike you that it might be part of the “post-covid” world, when we will be social distancing.  Daena Kluegel

The first things that “grab” me are his use of vivid colors (did he really like blue and yellow most of the color spectrum?) and perspective to pull the viewer into the painting.   Daena Kluegel

 

 

Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh’s Chair, 1888, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, London, UK

 

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1888, oil on canvas, Private Collection

I find his self-portraits to be very direct and honest.  His Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear is exceptional and disturbing to me.  Very emotional.  Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, L’Arlesienne: Madame Ginoux with Book, 1888, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This portrait is full of questions.  Why those colors?  What has she been reading?  What is she thinking/dreaming about?  Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, Irises, 1889, oil on canvas, J. Paul  Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA

I like his landscapes.  His love of nature and the outdoors is intense.  In Irises, there is the lovely color but he paints ONE white iris among the purple/blue flowers which adds interest to the painting.  Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, Field with Poppies, 1889, oil on canvas, Kunsthalle, Bremen, Germany

The Field with Poppies has interesting perspective and great intense colors.  I think he was not interested in buildings and just painting NATURE in the scene.   Daena Kluegel

 

Vincent van Gogh, Night Cafe, 1888, oil on canvas, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Night Cafe has many details (the clock, etc.).  The color predominates as does the perspective and his use of light and shadows.  Of course, I want to know more about the scene, the narrative of who and what….?  Daena Kluegel

 

 

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