Jumat, 17 Oktober 2008

Expressionism is an art movement that flourished in the early 1900’s. Expressionist tried to give form to their strong inner feelings. They tried to portray life as modified and distorted by their highly personal interpretation of reality. To the expressionist, truth or beauty is in the mind, not in the eye.

Vincent Van Gogh was one of the famous expressionists. He was born on March 30, 1869, in Groot- Zundert, the Netherlands. He was the eldest son of a Protestant minister. When he was 16 years old, he went to work for an uncle who owned an art gallery. Van Gogh felt that he was unsuited for a business career. He then became a school-master for a short time.

In 1878 he wanted to be a minister like his father. He studied theological studies. He served the miners in Belgium. He took his work so seriously. He went without food and other necessities so he could give more to the poor. The missionary society objected to Van Gogh’s behavior. They relieved him in 1879.

Van Gogh had begun to draw since he was in Belgium. Because he failed to be a preacher, he then decided to be a painter. Van Gogh’s early works were dark and somber. The painting, The Potato Eaters, showed the misery of peasant farmers. It was a dark picture of work-worn peasants eating humble food after a hard day’s work.

In 1886 Van Gogh went to Paris. He lived there with his brother, Theo, who was an art dealer. There, he painted his most expressive and original pictures. The Starry Night is one of his works. The painting is an expression of the highly personal vision that Van Gogh experienced rather than a simple impression of how a night sky full of stars appears to the observant eye. The tense, almost hysterical, excitement of the painting is primarily the product of Van Gogh’s mind.

Van Gogh’s mental illness became worse. In 1888, he threatened to kill the French painter, Paul Gauguin, who was visiting him. He cut off one of his ears at that time. At last, in despair over the thought that he was a burden to his brother Theo, and further mental breakdown, he shot himself and died on July 29, 1890.

During his lifetime, Van Gogh received no recognition and sold only one painting. However, the value of his works has soared after his death especially in recent years. His paintings are included in the most expensive painting in the world. In 1987, his painting, Irises, was sold in New York for $ 53,9 million. It was the highest amount ever paid for a work of art at the auction.

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