Analysis of Van Gogh's "Crows Over the W Essay

Analysis Of Van Gogh S Crows Over The W Term paper

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Vincent van Gogh/ Crows Over a Wheatfield (1853-1890) Vincent walked into the room. His eyes were bloodshot. He stood dazed. Doctor Gachet stopped sipping his drink. He happened to look into a mirror over Vincent's shoulder and saw that there was a revolver behind his back. The many folds on the doctor's face became tense. "Mon Ami," he stammered. Vincent gazed at him, laughed awkwardly, and then marched out. As soon as he reached his room he fired a bullet into the pit of his stomach. Doctor Gachet found him lying unconscious in a pool of blood. When he recovered consciousness, Vincent immediately asked for his brother, Theo, and his pipe. When his brother finally arrived, he and Vincent talked deeply. Vincent reflected on the miseries he was allotted in life. Theo answered, "Yes, Vincent, you have had more than your share of misery, and your misery has become the happiness of your pictures. Your pictures are warm embraces. The love in your heart, for all people, is tremendous. When your love shall cease to beat within your bosom, it will throb in your pictures." Vincent looked at his brother in amazement. How well he had said it all! As the life began to leave him, he leaned to his brother. Whispering in his native Dutch, "Zoo heen kan gaan"-- "I want to go home" (Meier 223-240). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was in the early hours of the morning of the 29th of July, 1890 that Vincent van Gogh passed on. Having suffered from Meniere's disease, tending to be very emotional and dramatic, and painting in a new style, many thought him odd. Only many years later do we find it is all the opposite. Van Gogh's painting meant everything to him. To rejuvenate himself he would turn to the brush. From what he saw in the real world he would absorb all the images and color, digest it internally and funnel it through an emotional filter. In van Gogh's painting of a landscape, Crows Over The Wheatfield, we see all the characteristic elements of van Gogh. In this painting we can see that Vincent's work was not the production of a crazed man but of genius given to carefully calculating the outlay and systematically dividing his subject matter mathematically. In this paper we will research the perspective and organization, color and symbols, and van Gogh's role in the late 19th century society, through his Crows Over The Wheatfield. Writing of this picture shortly before his suicide, van Gogh conveyed something of its tragic mood. "Returning there, I set to work. The brush almost fell from my hands . . . I had not difficulty in expressing sadness and extreme solitude" (Armstrong 58). The format of the canvas is matched by the vista itself, a field opening out from the foreground by way of three diverging paths. It is quite the disquieting situation for the spectator, who is held in doubt before the great horizon and cannot reach it on any of the roads before him. These roads end blindly in the field or run out of the picture. The familiar perspective of the openfield is now inverted ;the lines converge towards the foreground from the horizon, as if space had suddenly lost its focus and all things turned aggressively upon the beholder, there is no vanishing point. The as seen in the diagram at right. There is no linear perspective, the only consolation the painter gives to the viewer is the horizontal line in the middle of the painting separating the sky from the ground. blue sky and the yellow fields pull away from each other with disturbing violence ;across their boundary, a flock of black crows advance steadily toward the foreground. In regards to symmetry, the painting is equally heavy. You have the same amount of field on both sides, as you do have the same mass of the heavens and earthly colors. In this perspective disarray, we discover a powerful counter-action of van Gogh. As a man in psychological distress, van Gogh, in the extremity of anguish, creates an arithmetical order to resist disintegration. He makes an intense effort to control and organize. He seems to be counting, using mathematical means to give harmony and balance in the overall work. Look at the work and count along: One is the unique blue of the sky--giving unity, breadth, the ultimate resolution ;two, the complementary yellow of the divided, unstable masses of growing wheat ;three, the red of the diverging roads which lead nowhere ;four, the complementary green of the untrodden grass of these roads ;and as the n of the series there is the endless progression of the zigzag crows, the figures of fate that come from the far horizon. These too are heading without specific goal. Some fly toward the spectator, some to the left, and a few away. The balance in this mathematical harmony comes from a physical representation of a pyramid, as outlined on the left. You can count down the pyramid: 1-Sky, 2-Fields of wheat, 3-Roads, 4-Strips of vegetation. Each one builds on one another. Vincent's choice of color also gives the painting tremendous intensity. Using oil as the medium of the painting, van Gogh utilized a particular painting style commonly called "gauche" where he would squeeze the tube of paint directly onto the canvas and work up the paint to the point that you can
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