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Van Gogh in Provance

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Van Gogh found Arles to be an attractive destination with its Provencal landscapes and intense light and colors when he arrived there in February, 1888. During his time in Provence, he produced over three hundred paintings, water colours and drawings. Van Gogh’s drawings were made with a wide variety of tools and materials, and his subjects ranged from still life depictions to “interiors, gardens, parks, townscapes, landscapes, and seascapes to figure studies and portraits” (Walker: 25). The skill and accuracy of van Gogh’s mark making in the mature reed-pen and ink drawings of the Provencal period are amazing to view.Some of the drawings were created as studies for paintings, as seen by the color notations marked on the drawings; but a number of drawings were highly finished and were intended as independent art works in their own right. Further, gouache and watercolor were added to many drawings, hence these resemble paintings. Van Gogh’s oil paintings were created with vigorous drawing and stippling with the brush. Additionally, drawings were also made based on oil paintings to inform artist friends what the oils appeared like. Van Gogh at times focused on drawing and at other times on oil painting; but it is clear that there was a lot of overlap and interaction between the two media. Further, van Gogh experimented with various tools, inks, papers and techniques: for example “charcoal, chalk, graphite, carpenter’s pencils, reed and quill pens, aniline inks, a perspective frame, and laid and woven paper”, and milk was used as a fixative (Walker: 25).The artist worked with a burning eagerness, unhampered even by howling winds, during which time he would either kneel on his canvases and paint horizontally, or tie his easel to iron stakes that he drove deep into the ground. Among many other locations he painted the Pont de Langlois, a little re-built bridge close to Arles. Van Gogh’s paintings completed there included The Night Café, the Yellow Room, Starry Night Over the Rhone, and L’Arlesienne.“Cafe Terrace at Night, also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, was painted in Arles, France in September 1888. The style of the painting is unique for Van Gogh, with the warmth of colours and the depth of the perspective. This is the first painting in which he used starry backgrounds. He looked south towards the artificially lighted terrace of the popular coffee house as well as into the
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preview essay on Van Gogh in Provance
  • Pages: 10 (2500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Biographies
  • Level: Undergraduate
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