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Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

The iconic tortured artist, Van Gogh (1853–1890) aimed to convey his emotional and spiritual state through his art. Largely a self-taught painter, he believed in the expressive possibilities in color, often juxtaposing complementary colors to create a more luminous effect. He developed a method of applying paint in an evocative manner, with thick, swirling strokes of paint that almost conveys a psychological state.He was greatly influenced by Japanese woodcuts, interpreting the flatness of color and shape in his own way.

Exhausted by Paris, Van Gogh moved to the south of France hoping to find inspiration for his art in the bright colors illuminated by the sun along the coast. He worked feverishly, with intense, active brushwork and saturated, complementary colors. "I have tried," he wrote, "to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green." Opinions about Van Gogh's illness are still debated, but at age 35, he suffered a breakdown. In May 1889, following periods of intense work interrupted by recurring mental disturbances, Van Gogh committed himself to a sanitarium. He painted whenever he could, believing that work was his only chance for sanity. A year later, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although he only sold one painting during his lifetime, Van Gogh’s radically idiosyncratic, emotionally evocative style has continued to influence artists and movements.