Expression of Emotion in the Paintings of Vincent Van Gogh

As it is often said, art is an expression of one self, but what is not often mentioned is that art is also an expression of one’s psychological state of mind. Vincent van gogh was an artist who suffered from continuous attacks of paralyzing anxiety, depression, and symptoms of bipolar disorder. This is the case with Vincent Willem Van Gogh, a Post Impressionist artist who lived during the mid 1800’s. He was born March 30, 1853, in Holland.

Although he pursued to follow different career path like being a teacher, minister, art dealer, and missioner, non of those really worked out for him. It wasn’t until his brother Theo (whom was younger), encouraged Vincent Van Gogh emotionally as well as financially to start his new career, an artist. Vincent began painting after two years of only drawing, as he wanted to perfect his drawing skills before moving on to the major leagues. He then grew to be a self-taught painter.

Van Gogh decided to Paris in 1884, where he was determined he wanted to be a Post Impressionist artist. He introduced his artwork by only using bright colors, rather than the darker colors we are most familiarized with. He then decided to move to Arles, as he wasn’t really impressed with the “city life”. He met his partner, Paul Gauguin in Arles, where Van Gogh dreamt of establishing a Art Colony.

Unfortunately, Van Gogh wasn’t in a Big fan of Gauguin’s personally, as they wouldn’t really get along. As mentioned, Van Gogh suffered from various mental illnesses, he had a tendency of being stubborn and moody and he would most likely be seen wearing tattered clothes. He struggled to interact with people surrounding him. Due to these conditions, Van Gogh was asked by the people of Arles to be banned from town. In this essay I will be focusing on Vincent Van Gogh’s mental illness and mood and how he chose to portray his feelings in particular paintings Sunflowers, his Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, and The Starry Night. Through this paper, I will give further information on these three astonishing paintings and Van Gogh’s unstability.

Vincent Van Gogh’s painting Sunflowers, is up to date one of his most famous art works. This work was created during the time periods of 1888- 1889, in Arles, France. Sunflowers consists of a painting which includes a total of a dozen sunflowers in a large vase. Through this art piece, Van Gogh demonstrates how it is possible to, according to the Van Gogh’s Museum website “ Demonstrate how it is possible to create an image with numerous variations of a single colour, without any loss of eloquence”. He decided to use vibrant colors, as he wanted to express emotions typically associated with the life of sunflowers: bright yellows of the full bloom to arid Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers browns of wilting and death; all of the stages woven through these polar opposites are presented.

Perhaps this very technique is what draws one into the painting; the fulfillment of seeing all angles of the spectrum of life and in turn reaching a deeper understanding of how all living things are tied together. Unlike other masterpieces made by Van Gogh, he specifically chose to detail the illusions of light. He especially emphasized the contour and structure of the object presented in the paper. He intentionally chose colors that would not necessary clash with each other, rather than colors that follow each other like green, yellow, and blue.