Vincent Van Gogh Research Proposal

Pages: 50 (14235 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)


INTRODUCTION had a hard struggle with myself...."

Vincent van Gogh (Van Goh's Letters, 2009)

The Painter

The Painter" sold only one of his paintings, now worth millions of dollars, during his lifetime. "The Painter," Vincent van Gogh, frequently depicted people in hard times, Linda Yoffe (1995) notes in "Vincent, Theo, painting and self-esteem." Today, considered one of the greatest Dutch painters and draftsmen after Rembrandt, van Gogh's art significantly influenced Expressionism in modern art. Van Gogh, born in 1853, began painting seriously in 1880, Arthur Max (2004), an Associated Press writer, reports in "Van Gogh letter refers to family tragedy." Theo, van Gogh's younger brother, supported "The Painter" for much of his life.

Study Design and Significance

As this descriptive qualitative study reveals the "hard struggle" van Gogh experienced during his life, which culminated in his suicide, it also enhances the reader's perception of complex color compositions he purposefully painted. Consequently, this study, which examines the art and life of van Gogh, the researcher asserts proves significant as it proffers a glimpse of history continuing to live today.

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The researcher chose to study van Gogh, due to the fact he was artist frequently misunderstood by his peers and his family, yet became one of the he most influential artists in history. Van Gogh's paintings reflected what was happening to him at the specific time he painted the. Sharing glimpses of life, relevant then and now, though the art and life of van Gogh reflects the primary reason the researcher chose to focus this study on van Gogh.

Chapters following this introduction include:




TOPIC: Research Proposal on Vincent Van Gogh Assignment

During CHAPTER I, the researcher introduces numerous paintings of by Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, and Claude Monet. A number of comparisons, differences, and influences are noted in this chapter.

This chapter also introduces van Gogh's paintings, and relates how his reality went against the academy. CHAPTER II, the POWER of COLORS, notes how van Gogh became obsessed with colors, as well as, how colors reflect one's feelings for the painting's history. Letters to Theo are also referenced during this chapter.

CHAPTER III, Self-PORTRAIT, considers van Gogh's self-portrait; noting that the self-portrait he created evolved from the various different places he visited.

Van Gogh, the researcher notes, incorporated different colors corresponding to the location, depending on his current, surrounding circumstances.


The methodology utilizes a descriptive research design to explore characteristics/components of van Gogh's life, with particular focus on his paintings; the power of colors; his self-portrait. Along with retrieving information from the literature, the researcher amasses numerous paintings and additional data from numerous, credible Web sites, dedicating to haring van Gogh's legacy. This study proves unique in that it qualitatively examined the aforementioned study components: Van Gogh's paintings; the power of colors; self-portrait. Insight from this study my enhance the understanding of an often misunderstood artistic genius and consequently increase the understanding and appreciation of art, as well as, the artist.

Life Synopsis

Along with being exceptional as an artist, Van Gogh experienced bouts with mental illness.

In 1869, Van Gogh began working for his uncle, a partner in the international firm of picture dealers Goupil and Co., in the company's branch office at the Hague (Yoffe, 1995).

During 1873, Goupil and Co transferred van Gogh to the London branch. Here, he fell in love with the daughter of his landlady, his first of several reported disastrous endeavors to find happiness with a woman. This first experience in love, which was not returned, so adversely affected van Gogh that Goupil and Co dismissed him from the company. When van Gogh returned to England during 1876, albeit, working as a volunteer at a school, his experience of urban squalor birthed a religious zeal, which in turn stimulated his desire to serve his fellow men.

For a while, van Gogh trained for the ministry, reportedly planning to follow the path of his father, a Protestant pastor. In 1878, however, he abandoned his studies and worked as a lay preacher among the impoverished miners of the grim Borinage district in Belgium. During this time, van Gogh "gave away his own worldly goods to the poor and was dismissed for his literal interpretation of Christ's teachings (Yoffe, 1995, ¶ 7). While he remained in the Borinage, van Gogh became extremely poor, and until 1880 struggled spiritually. Here, van Gogh discovered art was his vocation, and the venue for him to minister to and console humanity. After this time, van Gogh "worked at his new 'mission' with single-minded frenzy, and although he often suffered from poverty and undernourishment, his output in the 10 remaining years of his life was prodigious" (Ibid). He completed approximately 800 paintings, along with a like number of drawings. Van Gogh lived in the Netherlands from 1881 to 1885. During this time, Theo, van Gogh's younger brother supported him, regularly sending van Gogh money, despite the fact he only earned a small salary. Theo, as letters from van Gogh indicate, struggled with health issues.

Van Gogh kept with his humanitarian outlook; painting peasants and workers. The Potato Eaters depicts his most famous picture from this period (Yoffe, 1995).

The Potato Eaters, April, 1885 (Van Gogh Gallery, 2009).

Family Members of van Gogh

Theodorus (Theo) van Gogh (1857-1891), van Gogh's younger brother, also his closest friend, worked as an art dealer. Van Gogh wrote more than three fourths of the 800 plus letters he wrote during his life. He addressed his first and last letters to Theo Van Gogh Gallery, 2008).

Johanna Gesina van Gogh (Bonger), Theo's wife, first published the letters van Gogh wrote to Theo (Van Gogh Gallery, 2008).

Anna Cornelia van Gogh (Carbentus) (1819-1907): van Gogh's Mother Van Gogh Gallery, 2008).

Theodorus van Gogh - (1822-1885): Vincent's Father (Van Gogh Gallery, 2008).

The Methmorphosis

While van Gogh lived Antwerp in 1885, he studied at the Academy there. He moved to Paris during February 1886, he moved to Paris. In Paris, van Gogh's painting "underwent a violent metamorphosis under the combined influence of Impressionism and Japanese woodcuts, losing its moralistic flavour of social realism" (Yoffe, 1995, ¶ 10). As Van Gogh became obsessed by the expressive and symbolic values of colors, he started to implement them for these purposes, instead of how the Impressionists used them, to reproduce visual appearances, atmosphere and light. The friendship van Gogh's friendship shared with Paul Gaugin soured in 1888, often erupting in heated argument. In on fit of madness on December 23, 1888, van Gogh cut off the lower portion of his own left ear. During May 1889, van Gogh admitted himself into an asylum, seeking help. While in the institution for a year, van Gogh completed 150 paintings, along with numerous drawings. One of these memorable, popular paintings produced during this time Starry Night (Yoffe, 1995, ¶ 10).


Starry Night, 1889 (Starry Night, 2009).

Starry Night reflects a small sampling of van Gogh's artistic genius. He notes about the night which inspired this painting: "I often think the night is more alive and richly colored than the day" (Starry Night, 2009). Van Gogh's days of painting ended shortly after he moved to Auvers-sur-Oise during May 1890. Here, he displayed another of his tremendous bursts of strenuous activity

During the last 70 days of his life, he painted 70 canvases." The depression van Gogh struggled with during his life became more severe, however. On July 29, 1890 van Gogh died from a self-inflicted bullet wound (Yoffe, 1995, ¶ 14).



It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to.

The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures"

Van Gogh (Van Gogh Gallery, 2008).

During this chapter, the researcher presents a number of paintings by Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Signac, Paul Cezanne, Georges Seurat, and Claude Monet; noting some differences and influences between them and van Gogh. This chapter also introduces some of van Gogh's paintings, portraying how his reality challenged the academy.

Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin (Eugene-Henri-), born June 7, 1848, Paris, France, died May 8, 1903 in Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, was a leading French painter of the Postimpressionist period. This art form included the development of a conceptual method of representation, a decisive step for 20th-century art. After Gauguin spent time with Vincent van Gogh in Arles (1888), he abandoned imitative art for expressiveness through color more often. "From 1891 he lived and worked in Tahiti and elsewhere in the South Pacific. His masterpieces include the early Vision After the Sermon (1888) and Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897-98)" (Gauguin, 2002).

In 1874 [Gauguin] he saw the first Impressionist exhibition, which completely entranced him and confirmed his desire to become a painter. He spent some 17,000 francs on works by Manet, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, Renoir… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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