Archive for December 16th, 2009

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Troubled Genius (reposted from my other blog)

December 16, 2009

Vincent Van Gogh is definitely my favorite artist. Never mind that he was mentally ill. Never mind that he committed suicide. The mind of a genius is always difficult to understand. But through his artworks, you could get a glimpse of his thoughts and his emotions.

Van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist born on March 30, 1853, in Zundert, Netherlands. He was a son of a pastor. He was highly emotional, and he lacked confidence. He used to work as a clerk, an art salesman, and a preacher.

He is also famous for cutting off a portion of his own ear during his quarrel with Paul Gauguin. After the incident with Gauguin, Van Gogh began to alternate betwen fits of madness and lucidity. he was sent to an asylum for treatment. In 1890, he shot himself and died two days after.

All through his life, he was supported by his brother, Theo. Van Gogh wrote over 800 letters in his lifetime. The majority of them were to his brother. Theo supported Van Gogh is a lot of ways, even financially. Sadly, Theo died six months after he did. Theo’s wife collected Van Gogh’s artworks and letters and dedicated herself to getting Van Gogh’s work the recognition that it deserved.

In just a period of ten years, he was able to make approximately 900 paintings. He sold only one during his lifetime, and this painting only became famous after his death. Van Gogh’s most famous work, The Starry Night, was created while he was in the asylum of Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

His works include The Potato Eaters, Portrait of a Woman with Red Ribbon, Self Portrait with Dark Felt Hat, Portrait of a Man, Starry Night Over the Rhone, and Peach Tree in Blossom. There are a lot more paintings, and each of them has its own message.

Van Gogh is my favorite artist because I was influenced by my father. He was a fan of the artist. That’s one reason why my brother was named Vincent Aaron. Van Gogh was one of my father’s heroes (along with Fredddie Mercury). One of these days, I might write a blog about him. But for now, this is just about Van Gogh. The depressing mood, the sombre colors, the emotional pictures, and the notorious mental state- those are the things that make him one of the greatest artists to date.

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Impressed by Impressionism (reposted from my other blog)

December 16, 2009

I am hooked on art history. I love reading about those times when people were so into art. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading Dan Brown. I really like art. Even if I am not an artist, I appreciate the beautiful things about visual arts.

My favorite art movement is the Impressionism. For those who aren’t familiar, Impressionism was a 19th century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists exhibiting their art publicly in the 1860s.

You could tell an impressionist art by the visible brush strokes, the open composition, the emphasis on light in its changing qualities, the ordinary subject matter, and the unusual visual angles.

Impressionists used short, thick strokes of paint to quickly capture the essence of the subject rather than its details. Colors are applied side-by-side with as little mixing as possible. Grays and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colors. Wet paint is placed into wet paint without waiting for the applications to dry. This produces softer edges and intermingling of colors.

Other movements arranged their compositions in a way that the main subject commanded the viewer’s attention. With Impressionism, the boundary between subject and background was relaxed, so the effect often resembles a snapshot. It’s as if it is a part of a larger reality captured by chance.

The most popular artists during this movement were Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Their artworks were amazingly beautiful. People should see Monet’s Water Lilies. It makes you see the lilies in the pond, but if you look at the paintings closely, the brush strokes were just brush strokes, and they really do not form a lily at all. This is why I’m always amazed by Impressionism. It leaves a lot to the imagination because it captures the essence of the subject. It does not give away everything there is to see.

As in real life, we are all a part of a larger image, of a larger world. Yes, we are subjects or our own, but if we look at the world as it is, we are all only essences and our details are not at all revealed except only to those who really want to dig deeper. What is important is our essence and what we are made of. Little things make us all different, but we are all a part of the same artwork that was created by one Supreme Being.

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