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View Full Version : Let's rock this joint! Van Gogh


warmgun
08-29-2001, 11:48 AM
Ok, ok, enough back-slapping. Let's get to the meat of the act:

Do you think Van Gough would have been as good (or famous) as he was if he had not developed a taste for his paint thinner? Seriously....

Acco40
08-29-2001, 11:59 AM
I was waiting soooo long for someone to finally ask this question.

warmgun
08-29-2001, 12:01 PM
What!!!!???? Are you out of your mind? Are you saying just because he ate the lead of of his brush and the thinner rotted his mind that it HELPED him paint that way? Hogwash! On the other hand.....


Sorry, I frequently talk to myself. I hope I don't get myself thrown into the pit.

Ukulele Ike
08-29-2001, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by warmgun
I hope I don't get myself thrown into the pit.

Not a chance. A debate about artistic dementia is what this new forum is all about.

Personally, I feel that if Van Gogh had been fitted with a strong pair of distance eyeglasses at a young age, his work would have been MUCH more Norman-Rockwellish.

k.os
08-29-2001, 12:09 PM
[ SouthPark ]

"...And I'm suing myself for sexually harrassing me..."

[ /SouthPark ]

:D

Finagle
08-29-2001, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by Ukulele Ike
Originally posted by warmgun
I hope I don't get myself thrown into the pit.

Not a chance. A debate about artistic dementia is what this new forum is all about.

Personally, I feel that if Van Gogh had been fitted with a strong pair of distance eyeglasses at a young age, his work would have been MUCH more Norman-Rockwellish.


And if he'd been given a lithium prescription and maybe some Prozac , he probably would have lived a long and happy life as a house painter.

red_dragon60
08-29-2001, 02:40 PM
I think it was his perscription for 600mL of absinthe twice daily was the cause.

warmgun
08-29-2001, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by red_dragon60
I think it was his perscription for 600mL of absinthe twice daily was the cause.

...Well, yeah, there's that.

So given all that - Was he a genius or do we view lunacy as such?
Put another way, would we know his name today if not for the lead white, thinner and absinthe?
Because if not, what is genius?

ShibbOleth
08-29-2001, 04:36 PM
You are kidding, right? Have you seen his work in person? The brush work is incredible. In Wheat Field with Crows (http://www.vangoghgallery.com/painting/p_0779.htm) the strokes convey emotion in a way that was previously unheard of. Now you may argue that his slipping grip on reality gave rise to the emotions, but the conveyance of these emotions is where he shined.

{personal aside} The Van Gogh museum was the highlight of my two days in Amsterdam, bar none. I was almost moved to tears.

warmgun
08-29-2001, 07:35 PM
Ah-ha!
I think you've hit on it, ShibbOleth.
First let me say that VG is my absolute fave painter. And, coincidentally, 'Wheat Field withCrows' is my favorite piece.
However, as a painter myself I can tell you that no matter how much emotion you put into a single brushstroke if the over-all composition is not good neither will the painting be.
Think of it this way, if I got my non-musically inclined 16 yr old daughter to write a song, and each note was played with emotion by one of the worlds greatist musicians, would the overall effect sound good? Of course not. Composition and concept are what humans respond to not individual notes or brushstrokes.
VG was certainly a genius. But did dementia contribute to abstract ways of thinking and painting that we as sober viewers perceive as genius?
Would you have ever heard of Hemingway had he never taken a drink?

ShibbOleth
08-29-2001, 09:56 PM
Well, you may have noticed that I was kind of backpedalling a bit toward the end of that last post. If you have been in the Van Gogh Museum then you saw that they do arrange his art by period, and there is definitely something that happens between his early work and the stuff that most people know about. His early stuff seems to me, an admittedly unstudied appreciator of art, to be somewhat derivative of the earlier Dutch masters, as one might suspect of a young artist. Sort of that dark "I want to be the next Rembrandt realism". Then something happens. I think it may have been his exposure to Impressionism, which his work surely follows, but he seems to go beyond that. I also love Wheat Field with Crows because it is almost three different paintings in one. It is Impressionistic, but it is more. The wheat flows, the sky is angry, the transition between the top of the wheat and the crows, you are in his head for a moment as you see the shapes which he saw. But did his madness inspire the genius? I think that the seeds were there somewhere, but something sparked this, for sure. But what?

DfrntBreign
01-23-2006, 08:03 PM
I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease about five years ago. It is (simplistically) an imbalance of the equilibrium caused by yadda,yadda,yadda (just google it if you are interested).

Anyway, in my research I came across a theory that Van Gogh may have suffered from this himself. Valid theory? There is no way to really know, but the symptoms I've experienced could certainly explain some of Van Gogh's work and life. It certainly seemed an interesting concept (at least to me).

I don't have a cite. I'm sorry, it wasn't really germane to what I was trying to find at the time and I didn't save it and don't remember where I found it.

Doctor Who
01-23-2006, 08:07 PM
Wow - almost a 5 year old zombie thread. I'm impressed.

BRAINS!!!

DfrntBreign
01-23-2006, 08:08 PM
Good Lord!!

Sorry! I didn't notice the date. I don't know how I ended up on... Oh, I see now. Won't happen again. :smack:

silenus
01-23-2006, 08:53 PM
Ooooh.....you're gonna get it now! Dex is gonna spank! :D

AskNott
01-24-2006, 02:01 PM
Ooooh.....you're gonna get it now! Dex is gonna spank! :D
Izzat right? I thought he said he was locking all the old threads. So it's, um, Dex's fault. Yeah, that's it. ;)

C K Dexter Haven
01-24-2006, 05:45 PM
No, we're not locking old threads ... yet. It's been suggested as a way of speeding up reaction time, by putting old threads in some sort of read-only Archive, but so far, no safari.

I ain't gonna spank. We do, in general, frown on resurrection of old threads, but in Cafe Society, we're more tolerant. Besides, Van Gogh is never out of style.

I have edited the thread title slightly.

Terrifel
01-24-2006, 06:09 PM
Well, I for one think that this new forum is a great idea.

Who do you guys think would win if Van Gogh fought Batman?

Skywatcher
01-24-2006, 06:25 PM
Who do you guys think would win if Van Gogh fought Batman?Oils or watercolors? :D

Starving Artist
01-24-2006, 06:37 PM
Re some of the posts above, Van Gogh's image as a drug and achohol crazed madman/idiot-savant painting mostly out of mindless instinct is a myth. He was an extraordinarily intelligent and articulate person (he spoke three languages) who knew exactly what he was doing when not in the grip of one of his various mental or physical maladies or some substance he ingested. A site exists which contains all of his letters that are known to survive. These letters make for fascinating reading and illuminate his extraordinary intelligence. For those interested in learning about Van Gogh as he really was, they can be found here:

http://www.vggallery.com/letters/main.htm

Johanna
01-24-2006, 08:00 PM
ik for one welkom our nieuw nederlands overlords

Exapno Mapcase
01-24-2006, 09:10 PM
The Ovation channel (which suddenly disappeared from the channel listing with the New Year) was running a British series called The Private Life of a Masterpiece. Took famous paintings apart, gave the historical and biographical details behind the painter, looked at the work as both art and craft (down to brushstrokes and paint thinner), and the effect on/place in society of the work. Should have been really dull, but was sparkling bright the way only the British can manage.

The van Gogh piece they did was Sunflowers. They started out by saying it was the most famous painting in Britain, which stopped me short. And they never mentioned Starry Night at all, not even in passing. In the U.S., ask 100 people who have heard of van Gogh to name a painting, and probably 90 say Starry Night and the other 10 do self-portrait with bandage.

Is Sunflowers really that famous/popular/distinctive in Britain?

The show talked a lot about the way van Gogh fell in love with the light of France when he moved there, about the new more vibrant colors available to artists at the time, and the way he broke the old color "rules."

They also attributed much of his final breakdown to his disastrous period of living and working with Gauguin in a tiny house in Arles, and how spurned he felt when Gauguin no longer could stand living with him. This on top of his poverty, his isolation, and his insecurities was more than he could bear. He cut off his ear and went to an asylum for a short period immediately after.

Madness, yes, but dementia probably paid a small part in his art, which was knowing and deliberate. Sunflowers alone had seven previous studies, and he went back and added some blooms for balance and effect after the rest of the eighth and famous painting was complete. Or so sayeth the program.

I'd guess that 99% of the popular impression of van Gogh is total nonsense. I wonder when the romantic lies (he cut off his ear to send to a woman, etc.) began, and how they started.

Monstera deliciosa
01-24-2006, 11:54 PM
The van Gogh piece they did was Sunflowers. They started out by saying it was the most famous painting in Britain, which stopped me short. And they never mentioned Starry Night at all, not even in passing. In the U.S., ask 100 people who have heard of van Gogh to name a painting, and probably 90 say Starry Night and the other 10 do self-portrait with bandage.

Is Sunflowers really that famous/popular/distinctive in Britain?



I believe they must have meant that the version Sunflowers in the National Gallery is the most famous painting actually located in Great Britain.

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/greatest-painting-in-britain.html

The Starry Night belongs to MOMA in New York.

Thirty-Nine
01-25-2006, 08:22 AM
FWIW, I'm in Britain and I had to look up Starry Night to see which one it is. Sunflowers is definitely the definitive Van Gogh picture here, and is often used as the definitive painting. I always assumed it was the same everywhere!

Exapno Mapcase
01-25-2006, 10:15 AM
I believe they must have meant that the version Sunflowers in the National Gallery is the most famous painting actually located in Great Britain.

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/greatest-painting-in-britain.html

The Starry Night belongs to MOMA in New York.
Yeah, I got that. I was still wondering that with all the other famous paintings in all the famous British museums, how something like Sunflowers, which has no name recognition at all in the U.S., could come out on top.

Just a small reminder of how different the two cultures are.

pulykamell
01-25-2006, 10:23 AM
how something like Sunflowers, which has no name recognition at all in the U.S., could come out on top.


Actually, I'm curious about this. I thought "Sunflowers" was pretty widely recognized and certainly was all over dorm rooms when I went to college in the mid-90s. I agree that "Starry Night" is the first Van Gogh that comes to mind for me, an American, but "Sunflowers" is a close second.

Monstera deliciosa
01-25-2006, 02:05 PM
Yeah, I got that. I was still wondering that with all the other famous paintings in all the famous British museums, how something like Sunflowers, which has no name recognition at all in the U.S., could come out on top.

Just a small reminder of how different the two cultures are.

I think you are underestimating the popularity of the Sunflowers series. It has plenty of name recognition. I used to be a museum guard. Yes, in the U.S. When I was assigned the 19th century galleries, where our Van Goghs were displayed, the painting I was asked for the most was Starry Night, but Sunflowers was a very close second.