33 Van Gogh masterpieces that everyone should know
Biography and Information
Vincent Willem Van Gogh (Dutch: Vincent Willem van Gogh; March 30, 1853, Grot-Sundert, Netherlands - July 29, 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise, France) is a Dutch post-impressionist artist who received almost no special education, but for a short time 10 years of his creative career, he wrote a huge number of paintings, many of which became recognized as world masterpieces of painting. Van Gogh's paintings began to gain popularity only after the death of the artist, and are now included in the list of the most expensive paintings in the world and put on display by the general public at the most prestigious exhibitions.
At 27, he began to feverishly draw everything that surrounded him. He painted a lot and with fervor. His paintings were not recognized. But he still continued to drive the canvas with a brush. The result of his life is more than 800 paintings, of which 463 were created in the last 3 years of his life.
Van Gogh died in poverty, thinking that his work was out of art. Today, his name is a symbol of the era of post-Impressionism, and paintings are sold for record money: everyone knows Starry Night, self-portraits of different years, Irises and Peasant, a wonderful peasant woman.
The Peasant Woman (1885, Krohler-Muller Museum, Otterlo)
Potato Eaters, 1885
"Potato Eaters" (Dutch. De Aardappeleters) is a painting by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, which he painted in April 1885 in the Dutch village of Nyuenen.
Now it is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
This is the first painting created by the artist in the so-called “Nuenne period”, in which the artist’s artistic manner began to appear.
Yellow House 1888
“Yellow House” (Dutch. Het gele huis) - a picture of the famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh.
It was written in September 1888 in Arles.
Starry night over rhone
“Starry Night over the Rhone” is one of the paintings of post-impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh, depicting Arles; this time at night.
It is stored in the Museum d'Orsay, in Paris.
The painting depicts a place on the river, a two-minute walk from the Yellow House on Lamarten Square, which Van Gogh rented for a while.
The night sky and the effects of starlight and light of lanterns make this picture related to the artist’s other masterpieces - “The Night Terrace of the Cafe” (written a month before work on “Starry Night on the Rhone”) and later “Starry Night”.
Bedroom in Arles
“Bedroom in Arles” (French: La Chambre à Arles; Dutch. Slaapkamer te Arles) - a series of three paintings by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, written by him in the period 1888-1889.
In addition to paintings, there are two options in sketches in letters to brother Theo and Gauguin.
Also one of the distinguishing features of the series is that the artist depicts his other works on canvases.
Wheat field with cypresses
Wheat field with ravens
“Wheat Field with Ravens” (Dutch. Korenveld met kraaien, French Champ de blé aux corbeaux) - a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, painted by the artist in July 1890 and is one of his most famous works.
“Night Cafe” (French: Le Café de nuit) is a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, painted in September 1888 in Arles.
Flowering almond branches
“Flowering Almond Branches” (Dutch. Amandelbloesem) is a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, painted by him in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in 1890.
On January 31, 1890, Theo van Gogh wrote to Vincent about the birth of a son, who was named Vincent Willem in honor of his uncle. Vincent van Gogh immediately set to work on a painting that he intended to give to his younger brother. As conceived by Vincent, the canvas was to hang over the bed of the spouses and symbolize the beginning of a new life. This justifies the choice of the plot of the canvas - almond branches begin to bloom very early and are harbingers of spring.
Already in Arles, where he arrived in March 1888, van Gogh was fascinated by fruit orchards with apricots, peaches and plum blossoms. Flowering trees repeatedly appear in the artist's paintings. However, the composition of "Flowering Almond Branches" is unusual for Van Gogh's work. It seems that the branches are floating against the blue, with shades of turquoise, sky, and it is not clear whether the viewer sees a part of the tree, or the branches are in a vase, as in earlier works. Almost the entire space of the picture is filled with branches that are emphasized thanks to the dark contours. And in sharp contours, and in the arrangement of the branches, the influence of Japanese painting, with which van Gogh met in Paris, is noticeable.
Currently, the painting is on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Part number F 617.
Self portrait 1889
Red vineyards in Arles
"Red vineyards in Arles" (Dutch. De rode wijngaard) - a picture of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. For a long time it was unreasonably considered the only one sold during the life of the artist by his painting work.
The painting was painted during the stay of Van Gogh in the town of Arles in southern France. A short period of life there (from February 1888 to May 1889) is considered the most productive in the life of the artist. Gauguin came to him, and Vincent dreamed of creating a settlement of artists, headed by his friend. Van Gogh was inspired by the surrounding landscapes, views of the urban and rural areas. In November 1888, he wrote to his brother Theo: “Ah, why you were not with us on Sunday! We saw a completely red vineyard - red as red wine. From a distance it seemed yellow, above it - a green sky, around - the earth purple after rain, in some places on it - yellow reflections of the sunset. " In the same month, "Red Vineyards in Arles" was written depicting a grape harvest in the vicinity of Montmajour Abbey. At Van Gogh, this landscape takes on the character of a parable. Harvesting people become a symbol of life, presented by the artist as hard daily work.
Subsequently, this work was exhibited at the eighth exhibition of the G20 in Brussels and bought for four hundred francs by Belgian artist Anna Bosch.
Together with the famous “Night Cafe”, the painting was acquired by Russian collector Ivan Morozov. After nationalization, his collection was exhibited at the Museum of New Western Art, now in the Museum of Fine Arts named after A.S. Pushkin.
Church in Auvers
“Church in Auvers” (fr. L'Église d'Auvers-sur-Oise) - a picture of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.
Having left the mental hospital in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in May 1890, Van Gogh settled in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, on the outskirts of Paris, where he spent the last two months of his life. During this time, he painted about 70 paintings, among which there are many types of Auvers and its environs, including The Church in Auvers. The Gothic church built in the 13th century, depicted on canvas, can be seen in several other works of that period.
After the artist’s death, the painting went to his friend the doctor and amateur artist Paul Gachet, whom he underwent treatment in the last months of his life. Until the middle of the 20th century, the painting was in the private collection of Gachet and his descendants. In 1951, it was transferred to the Louvre, and since 1986 it has been kept in the collection of the Orsay Museum.
Road with cypress and star
“The Road with the Cypress and the Star” is a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, also known as “The Country Road in Provence at Night,” written in May 1890. The last work of the artist, completed by him in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. It is currently stored in the Kröller-Müller Museum, located in the De Hoge-Veluwe National Park.
In a letter to his brother, Theo Van Gogh mentions that cypresses always occupied his thoughts with the beauty of the contour and proportions resembling an Egyptian obelisk. It is also known that he intended to paint a night landscape with trees from his time in Arles in 1888.
There is an opinion that the creation of the painting was influenced by the Christian allegory "Pilgrim's Journey to Heavenly Land", as indicated by the visually highlighted road and cypress. The painting is not the only one in the artist where he develops the theme of cypress and, as on a number of others, he depicts a tree going beyond the top of the canvas. In June 1890, already in Auvers-sur-Oise, Van Gogh wrote to his friend Gauguin that the theme of the painting was similar to the theme "Christ on Mount of Olives", written by Gauguin in 1889.
According to art historian Kathleen Powers Erickson, in “Road with a Cypress and a Star,” Van Gogh expressed an even stronger feeling of imminent death than in the previous work, “Starry Night,” as indicated by a faint evening star at the left edge of the canvas, the growing moon on the right and cypress , as if the "obelisk of death" separating these symbols of birth and death, and the wanderers in the lower right corner indicate Van Gogh's need for a friendly shoulder. The art critic Naomi Muller, who shares the opinion about Van Gogh’s sensation of the approach of death, considers the picture as a description of human life in the context of eternity and infinity, and the evening star with the growing moon gives the earthly scene a cosmic perspective, creating an image of a rational universe filled with love.
The view of the night sky may reflect the conjunction of Mercury with Venus on April 20, 1890, which, being at an angular distance of 3 ° from each other and 4 ° from the Moon, had a joint brightness comparable to Sirius.
Blooming Garden with Poplars
"Tree Roots" (Dutch. Boomwortels) - a painting by Vincent van Gogh, written in 1890 in France. The format of the picture is elongated horizontally and is "two squares connected horizontally." The artist often used this format for his latest landscape works.
According to some, this is the last picture painted by van Gogh.
At first glance, the picture may seem like a composition of abstract forms and bright colors, but it shows the roots and bases of trees, plants, leaves.
Back in 1882, in The Hague, Van Gogh makes sketches of tree roots. In a letter to his brother, Theo Vincent wrote that he wants to convey something like a life struggle in this work. It is not known whether he was guided by the same idea when creating the “Roots of Trees”.
Garden of Daubigny
"Shoes" (Dutch. Een paar schoenen) - a picture of the famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. It was written in the summer of 1886 in Paris. The painting is stored in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
that strange and incomprehensible plot - old shoes - became the basis of six different paintings by Van Gogh. One of the artists Van Gogh met in Paris recalls how Vincent looked for the right shoes for the painting: “At the flea market, he bought a pair of old, large, clumsy shoes - shoes of some hard worker - but clean and re-polished. These were ordinary old shoes, there was nothing remarkable in them. One afternoon, when it was raining heavily, he put them on and went for a walk along the old city wall. And now, covered with mud, they became much more interesting. " It may well be that Van Gogh saw special symbolism in his old shoes. Rumpled and worn shoes symbolized the hard work of the workers and their hard lives. This picture became an occasion for all kinds of psychological associations. At that time, no one was able to notice in this painting a symbol of Van Gogh's difficult life path.
Later, Pablo Picasso will say that "Van Gogh is great because he is able to refine even a pair of old shoes with his brush."
Skull with a burning cigarette
“A Skull with a Burning Cigarette” is the work of Vincent Van Gogh, which is a small, unattended painting, currently stored in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It was probably written in the winter of 1885-1886 in Antwerp, where the artist attended painting courses at the Royal Academy of Arts, which did not bring, in his own words, any benefit.
It is interpreted as a satire on the conservative working methods that Van Gogh encountered at the Academy, which prescribed the study of human anatomy, including the structure of the skeleton, before starting work with living models.
The genre of the painting, painted during the period when Van Gogh was experiencing health problems, can be defined as vanitas or Memento mori. The work of the 17th-century Dutch artist Hercules Segers or the Belgian Felicien Rops, a contemporary of Van Gogh, could have influenced its creation. Van Gogh himself was often considered a critic of smoking, although he remained a passionate smoker until his death in 1890.
The painting belonged to the artist’s brother Theodor Van Gogh until his death in 1891, after which he was inherited by his widow Johann Van Gogh-Bonger, and after her death in 1925, to their son Vincent Willem Van Gogh. In 1962, the Van Gogh Foundation acquired the painting. From 1962 to 1973 she was exhibited at the city museum of Amsterdam, after which she transferred to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum for permanent storage.
“Onion Fields” also known as “Flower Gardens in Holland” - a painting painted in oil in 1883 by Vincent Van Gogh.
Memories of the Etten Garden
“Memories of the Garden in Etten” (French Souvenir du Jardin à Etten), also known as the “Arles Ladies” (French Femmes d'Arles) - painting by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh.
The painting was painted in November 1888 in Arles, where he was with Paul Gauguin. It is executed in a manner close to cloisonism; the composition of the picture may have been inspired by Gauguin's work “In the Hospital Garden in Arles”. In letters to his brother, Theo Van Gogh twice mentions a picture called "Remembering the Garden in Etten." In a letter to his sister Willemine, he wrote that the female figures depicted are Willemina herself and their mother.
The painting belonged to S. I. Shchukin, after the October Revolution, his collection was nationalized and became part of the Museum of New Western Art; after the disbandment of this museum in 1948, the painting was transferred to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg; it is exhibited in the General Staff building in hall 413.
Girl in white
Thatched houses on a hill
Van Gogh Chair, 1888
Self portrait with cut off ear and tube
"Self-portrait with a cut off ear and tube" - a picture of the Dutch and French artist Vincent van Gogh. It was painted during Van Gogh's stay in Arles in January 1889.
A heightened perception of reality and emotional instability lead Van Gogh to mental illness. Gauguin comes to visit Arles, but creative differences cause a quarrel. Van Gogh throws a glass at the artist’s head, then, after Gauguin’s declaration of intention to leave, he throws himself at him with a razor. In a fit of insanity on the evening of the same day, the artist cuts off his earlobe.
Van Gogh's face occupies most of the picture. The head is turned three quarters to the left. He is wearing a warm jacket, a worn hat. A bandage on his head. Van Gogh smokes a pipe (smoke traced). The black tube contrasts with the white bandage. The picture gives the impression of humility and tranquility. In the picture, the artist's features are distorted, his eyes are lost, directed into the distance. Van Gogh was only 35 years old when he was painting, but he looks fifty years old on it. The background of the picture is a two-color wall in red-orange shades.
If you look at the picture, you can see that the background is divided into two equal zones: the lower part is red, the upper part is mostly orange with small yellow blotches. The hat is blue in the front (fur) part, and behind it is purple. The jacket he is wearing is green. The smoke, his shirt and his blindfold are white, while the pipe, eyes and hair are very dark, almost black. Van Gogh placed nearby close on the chromatic circle colors (purple and blue, red and orange).
Dr. Gachet's Garden in Auvers
Sunset in Montmajour
“Sunset at Montmajour” (French: Coucher de soleil à Montmajour, Netherlands. Zonsondergang bij Montmajour) is a painting by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), painted in Arles in 1888. The painting is exhibited at the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The size of the picture is 73.3 × 93.3 cm.
It was previously believed that this painting is not a genuine work of Vincent van Gogh, but its affiliation by the artist was confirmed by experts in 2013. For van Gogh's paintings, this is very rare - a previous find of this kind happened 85 years ago, in 1928.
Self portrait without a beard
Starry Night (Dutch: De sterrennacht) is one of the most famous paintings by Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Presents a view from the east window of Van Gogh's bedroom in Saint-Remy-de-Provence to the predawn sky and a fictional village. The painting was painted in June 1889; Since 1941, kept at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The period from May 1889 to May 1890, Van Gogh spent in the hospital for the mentally ill Saint-Paul-de-Mozole in Saint-Remy-de-Provence after the conflict with Gauguin and the loss of the left earlobe. At this time, he continued to paint fruitfully and created some of his most famous works, including Irises, a self-portrait in a blue suit, and Starry Night. The painting, painted in one day in the hospital studio, depicts a view from the east bedroom window, about which Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in May 1889: “Through an iron grate I see a fenced field of wheat over which the sun rises in all its glory in the morning” .
Van Gogh made a series of drawings with this view at different times of the day and under different weather conditions. Although he was forbidden to work in the bedroom, he could sketch with ink or charcoal, using them in further work. A common element for all these drawings is the diagonal line of the alpine foothills, rising in the background from the left to the right. A number of sketches depict cypress behind a wheat field, which Van Gogh artificially brought closer to the picture plane. The last of the sketches - "Wheat Field in San Remy de Provence" (F1548) - is now stored in New York. Two days later, Van Gogh said in a letter to Theo that he wrote "starry sky."
The painting is the only image of the night in a series of views from Vincent’s bedroom. In early June, he wrote to Theo: “This morning, I looked at the area from a window long before sunrise, with the only morning star that seemed very large.” Researchers have found that at that time Venus was indeed visible in Provence at the limit of its brightness and, apparently, it was she who was depicted as the largest "star" in the picture, to the right of cypress.
The moon is stylized, since its appearance does not correspond to the actual phase at the time of painting. Also, no settlement was definitely visible from the bedroom window, and the village depicted in the picture is based on a sketch made on the side of a hill opposite Saint-Remy. According to another version, the added village may reflect Van Gogh's memories of his homeland, as indicated by the church spire, more characteristic of the northern countries.
“Sunflowers” (French: Tournesols) is the name of two cycles of paintings by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. The first series was made in Paris in 1887. It is dedicated to lying flowers. The second series was completed a year later, in Arles. She depicts a bouquet of sunflowers in a vase. Two Parisian paintings purchased by van Gogh's friend Paul Gauguin.
Night Terrace Cafe
Café Terrace at Night (Dutch: Caféterras bij nacht, French: Terrasse du café le soir) is a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The Cafe Night Terrace was written by the artist in Arles in September 1888.
For the work of Van Gogh, this picture is unique. Vincent van Gogh disgusted the routine, and in this picture he masterfully overcomes it. As he later wrote to his brother: "The night is much livelier and richer in colors than day." An interesting feature is that when painting the artist did not use a single gram of black paint, and nevertheless, he was able to masterfully portray the night sky and the unusual radiance of stars. In the composition of the picture, the researchers see the influence of the work of Louis Anquetin "Avenue de Clichy in the evening."
Van Gogh wrote to his sister:
In truth, I digress from all other things and now work on a new picture depicting the exterior of a night cafe: tiny figures of people drinking on the terrace, a huge yellow lantern illuminates the terrace, house and sidewalk, and even gives some brightness to the pavement, which painted in pinkish-violet tones. The triangular pediments of buildings on a street running away into the distance under a blue sky, strewn with stars, seem dark blue or purple, and there is still a green tree.
The main feature of the Arles period is the use of a large amount of yellow paint, which prevails in the palette in such saturated and bright colors as in the canvases of “Sunflowers” - the color takes on a special radiance, as if bursting from the depth of the image.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet
“Portrait of Dr. Gachet” (French Portrait du Dr Gachet avec branche de digitale) is a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, written in June 1890, shortly before his death. The portrait of Paul Gachet, who monitored the health of the artist on the slope of his life, with a sprig of digitalis (from which he prepared a medicinal potion for the artist) was sold at Christie's auction on May 15, 1990 for a record amount of $ 82.5 million. Over the next 15 years, the picture topped the list of the most expensive paintings (from those for sale).
After the death of Van Gogh, the painting was inherited by his sister, who, in turn, sold it to a private collector in 1897. The picture changed hands several times until it was acquired in 1911 by the Shtedelevsky Art Institute. The painting remained in Frankfurt until 1937. In 1933, after the rise of the National Socialists, the picture was removed from the exhibition and transferred to the museum. In 1937, in the wake of the campaign to get rid of the so-called "degenerative art", the painting was confiscated by the Imperial Ministry of Education and Propaganda. In 1938, Hermann Goering sold the painting to an art dealer in Amsterdam, and he, in turn, resold it to a private collector Siegfried Kramarsky, who fled with her to the United States during the war. In the future, the picture was often exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1990, the Kramarski family auctioned the painting, where it was sold for a record amount ($ 82.5 million) to Japanese tycoon Ryei Saito, who, in turn, caused a scandal after the purchase, expressing his intention to cremate the canvas with him after his death. Although the scandal was later hushed up, under the pretext that these words were spoken from a highly emotional experience (according to other sources - misinformation deliberately launched to verify the authenticity of the picture). In 1996, after the death of the owner, the painting was sold to an international investment fund, which, in turn, soon sold it to “unknown hands”.
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