Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life in France, where he died. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. His suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty.

Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, and was considered a madman and a failure. He became famous after his suicide, and exists in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist “where discourses on madness and creativity converge”. He attained widespread critical, commercial and popular success over the ensuing decades, and is remembered as an important but tragic painter, whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist.

Van Gogh’s stylistic developments are usually linked to the periods he spent living in different places across Europe. He was inclined to immerse himself in local cultures and lighting conditions, although he maintained a highly individual visual outlook throughout. His evolution as an artist was slow, and he was aware of his painterly limitations. He moved home often, perhaps to expose himself to new visual stimuli, and through exposure develop his technical skill.

Vincent van Gogh, Blossoming Acacia Branches (1890)
Blossoming Acacia Branches (1890)
Vincent van Gogh, Chestnut Trees in Blossom (1890)
Chestnut Trees in Blossom (1890)
Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (1888)
Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground (1889)
The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Avenue of Poplars at Sunset (1884)
Avenue of Poplars at Sunset (1884)
Vincent van Gogh, Vase with Carnations (1886)
Vase with Carnations (1886)
Vincent van Gogh, Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum (1888)
Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Garden Behind a House (1888)
Garden Behind a House (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Country Lane with Two Figures (1885)
Country Lane with Two Figures (1885)
Vincent van Gogh, House with Sunflowers (1887)
House with Sunflowers (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Garden with Flowers (1888)
Garden with Flowers (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Flowering Garden (1888)
Flowering Garden (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove (1889)
Olive Grove (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Skull with Burning Cigarette (1885)
Skull with Burning Cigarette (1885)
Vincent van Gogh, Outskirts of Paris near Montmartre (1887)
Outskirts of Paris near Montmartre (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Interior of a Restaurant (1887)
Interior of a Restaurant (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, The Tarascon Diligence (1888)
The Tarascon Diligence (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Entrance to the Moulin de la Galette (1887)
Entrance to the Moulin de la Galette (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Vase with Myosotis and Peonies (1886)
Vase with Myosotis and Peonies (1886)
Vincent van Gogh, Undergrowth (1887)
Undergrowth (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Pasture in Bloom (1887)
Pasture in Bloom (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Les Alyscamps (1888)
Les Alyscamps (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Lilac Bush (1889)
Lilac Bush (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Gate in the Paris Ramparts (1887)
Gate in the Paris Ramparts (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Road Running Beside the Paris Ramparts (1887)
Road Running Beside the Paris Ramparts (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Orchard in Blossom Bordered by Cypresses (1888)
Orchard in Blossom Bordered by Cypresses (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of a Young Peasant (1889)
Portrait of a Young Peasant (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses at the Haude Galline near Eygalieres (1889)
Wheat Field with Cypresses at the Haude Galline near Eygalieres (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Entrance to the Public Garden in Arles (1888)
Entrance to the Public Garden in Arles (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Field with Poppies (1889)
Field with Poppies (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Factories Seen from a Hillside in Moonlight (1887)
Factories Seen from a Hillside in Moonlight (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Bulb Fields (1883)
Bulb Fields (1883)
Vincent van Gogh, Shed with Sunflowers (1887)
Shed with Sunflowers (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Chestnut Tree in Blossom (1887)
Chestnut Tree in Blossom (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Bridges Across the Seine at Asnieres (1887)
Bridges Across the Seine at Asnieres (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Landscape with Windswept Trees (1884)
Landscape with Windswept Trees (1884)
Vincent van Gogh, The Rispal Restaurant at Asnieres (1887)
The Rispal Restaurant at Asnieres (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Dr. Paul Gachet (1890)
Dr. Paul Gachet (1890)
Vincent van Gogh, The Entrance Hall of Saint Paul Hospital (1889)
The Entrance Hall of Saint Paul Hospital (1889)
Vincent van Gogh, Young Woman Knitting (1881)
Young Woman Knitting (1881)
Vincent van Gogh, Avenue in the Park (1888)
Avenue in the Park (1888)
Vincent van Gogh, Exterior of a Restaurant at Asnieres (1887)
Exterior of a Restaurant at Asnieres (1887)
Vincent van Gogh, Les Alpilles Mountain Landscape near South-Reme (1889)
Les Alpilles Mountain Landscape near South-Reme (1889)

On 27 July 1890, aged 37, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a 7mm Lefaucheux à broche revolver. There were no witnesses and he died 30 hours after the incident. The shooting may have taken place in the wheat field in which he had been painting, or a local barn. The bullet was deflected by a rib and passed through his chest without doing apparent damage to internal organs – probably stopped by his spine. He was able to walk back to the Auberge Ravoux, where he was attended to by two doctors, but without a surgeon present the bullet could not be removed. The doctors tended to him as best they could, then left him alone in his room, smoking his pipe. The following morning Theo rushed to his brother’s side, finding him in good spirits. But within hours Vincent began to fail, suffering from an untreated infection resulting from the wound. He died in the early hours of 29 July. According to Theo, Vincent’s last words were: “The sadness will last forever”.

Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, commonly known as Auguste Renoir, was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that “Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau.”

Renoir’s paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions. The female nude was one of his primary subjects. In characteristic Impressionist style, Renoir suggested the details of a scene through freely brushed touches of color, so that his figures softly fuse with one another and their surroundings.

A prolific artist, he created several thousand paintings. The warm sensuality of Renoir’s style made his paintings some of the most well-known and frequently reproduced works in the history of art.

Auguste Renoir, Summer Landscape (1875)
Summer Landscape (1875)
Auguste Renoir, Young Woman in Profile (1897)
Young Woman in Profile (1897)
Auguste Renoir, Spring at Catou (1873)
Spring at Catou (1873)
Auguste Renoir, Woman in a Garden, Woman with a Seagull (1868)
Woman in a Garden, Woman with a Seagull (1868)
Auguste Renoir, Vase of Peonies
Vase of Peonies
Auguste Renoir, Path Leading Through Tall Grass (1877)
Path Leading Through Tall Grass (1877)
Auguste Renoir, Young Woman Seated
Young Woman Seated
Auguste Renoir, Strong Wind Gust of Wind
Strong Wind Gust of Wind
Auguste Renoir, Woman at the Garden (1873)
Woman at the Garden (1873)
Auguste Renoir, The Path Through the Forest (1871)
The Path Through the Forest (1871)
Auguste Renoir, Landscape with Horses
Landscape with Horses
Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet Reading (1872)
Claude Monet Reading (1872)
Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Madame Claude Monet (1872)
Portrait of Madame Claude Monet (1872)
Auguste Renoir, Breton Landscape Trees and Moor (1892)
Breton Landscape Trees and Moor (1892)
Auguste Renoir, The Banks of a River Rower in a Boat
The Banks of a River Rower in a Boat
Auguste Renoir, The Banks of the Seine (1875)
The Banks of the Seine (1875)
Auguste Renoir, A Walk in the Woods Madame Lecoeur and Her Children (1870)
A Walk in the Woods Madame Lecoeur and Her Children (1870)
Auguste Renoir, Clearing
Clearing
Auguste Renoir, Ball at the Moulin de la Galette (1876)
Ball at the Moulin de la Galette (1876)
Auguste Renoir, Le Place Clichy
Le Place Clichy
Auguste Renoir, Forest Path (1875)
Forest Path (1875)
Auguste Renoir, Portrait of Edmond Maitre the Reader (1871)
Portrait of Edmond Maitre the Reader (1871)
Auguste Renoir, Landscape with Female Bathers
Landscape with Female Bathers
Auguste Renoir, Conversation in a Rose Garden (1876)
Conversation in a Rose Garden (1876)
Auguste Renoir, Young Girl with a Hat
Young Girl with a Hat
Auguste Renoir, View of Antibes (1893)
View of Antibes (1893)
Auguste Renoir, Picking Flowers (1875)
Picking Flowers (1875)
Auguste Renoir, View Close to Antibes
View Close to Antibes
Auguste Renoir, Path Through the Woods (1874)
Path Through the Woods (1874)
Auguste Renoir, Landscape near Varengeville (1885)
Landscape near Varengeville (1885)
Auguste Renoir, Landscape with Mimosas (1912)
Landscape with Mimosas (1912)
Auguste Renoir, Garden in the Rue Cortot (1876)
Garden in the Rue Cortot (1876)
Auguste Renoir, The Banks of the River
The Banks of the River
Auguste Renoir, On the Path (1872)
On the Path (1872)

Claude Monet

Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.

Monet has been described as “the driving force behind Impressionism”. Crucial to the art of the Impressionist painters was the understanding of the effects of light on the local colour of objects, and the effects of the juxtaposition of colours with each other. Monet’s long career as a painter was spent in the pursuit of this aim.

Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.

Claude Monet, Vernon Church in Fog (1893)
Vernon Church in Fog (1893)
Claude Monet, Trees in Winter View of Bennecourt (1887)
Trees in Winter View of Bennecourt (1887)
Claude Monet, Spot on the Banks of the Seine (1881)
Spot on the Banks of the Seine (1881)
Claude Monet, Fields of Flowers and Windmills near Leiden
Fields of Flowers and Windmills near Leiden
Claude Monet, Water Lilies (1917)
Water Lilies (1917)
Claude Monet, The River Epte
The River Epte
Claude Monet, Poplars on the Banks of the Epte
Poplars on the Banks of the Epte
Claude Monet, The Seine at Lavacourt
The Seine at Lavacourt
Claude Monet, The Seine at Vetheuil
The Seine at Vetheuil
Claude Monet, The Row Boat
The Row Boat
Claude Monet, Two Trees in a Meadow (1886)
Two Trees in a Meadow (1886)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies Reflections of Weeping Willows Left Half (1919)
Water Lilies Reflections of Weeping Willows Left Half (1919)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies Nympheas (1907)
Water Lilies Nympheas (1907)
Claude Monet, Willows Giverny
Willows Giverny
Claude Monet, The Bridge at Argenteuil (1874)
The Bridge at Argenteuil (1874)
Claude Monet, Gare St. Lazare
Gare St. Lazare
Claude Monet, The Arm of the Seine (1878)
The Arm of the Seine (1878)
Claude Monet, The Road in Vetheuil in Winter
The Road in Vetheuil in Winter
Claude Monet, The Blue Row Boat (1887)
The Blue Row Boat (1887)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies (1899)
Water Lilies (1899)
Claude Monet, Morning on the Seine near Giverny, the Fog
Morning on the Seine near Giverny, the Fog
Claude Monet, Landscape at Port-Villez (1883)
Landscape at Port-Villez (1883)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Claude Monet, White Azaleas in a Pot (1885)
White Azaleas in a Pot (1885)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Claude Monet, Morning on the Seine
Morning on the Seine
Claude Monet, Rain in Belle-Ile (1886)
Rain in Belle-Ile (1886)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies Evening Effect (1899)
Water Lilies Evening Effect (1899)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Claude Monet, Water Lilies (1917)
Water Lilies (1917)
Claude Monet,The Seine, seen from the heights Chantemesle (1881)
The Seine, seen from the heights Chantemesle (1881)
Claude Monet, The Banks of the River Epte at Giverny (1887)
The Banks of the River Epte at Giverny (1887)
Claude Monet, The Pont de l'Europe Gare Saint-Lazare (1877)
The Pont de l'Europe Gare Saint-Lazare (1877)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies
Water Lilies
Claude Monet, The Coast of Varengeville (1882)
The Coast of Varengeville (1882)
Claude Monet, Morning on the Seine near Giverny
Morning on the Seine near Giverny
Claude Monet, The Frost (1885)
The Frost (1885)
Claude Monet, Snow at Argenteuil (1874)
Snow at Argenteuil (1874)
Claude Monet, Trees in Bloom (1872)
Trees in Bloom (1872)
Claude Monet, Water Lilies Green Reflection Left Half (1926)
Water Lilies Green Reflection Left Half (1926)
Claude Monet, Cliff near Pourville
Cliff near Pourville
Claude Monet, The Magpie (1869)
The Magpie (1869)
Claude Monet, The Isle Grande Jatte on the Siene (1878)
The Isle Grande Jatte on the Siene (1878)
Claude Monet, Path at Pourville
Path at Pourville
Claude Monet, Lilacs in the Sun
Lilacs in the Sun
Claude Monet, Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden
Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden
Claude Monet, Water Lilies
Water Lilies

Vasily Polenov

Vasily Polenov was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists. He was one of the first Russian artists who achieved a plein air freshness of color combined with artistic finish of composition. The principles developed by Polenov had a great impact on the further development of Russian (and especially Soviet) landscape painting.

Polenov’s sketches of the Middle East and Greece (1881–1882) paved the way for his masterpiece an interesting attempt to update the academic style of painting. In his works of the 1880s, Polenov tended to combine New Testament subjects with his penchant for landscape. From the 1870s, Polenov also turned to stage design.

Konstantin Korovin

Konstantin Korovin was a leading Russian Impressionist painter. In the best of Korovin’s portraits, man and nature merge together, the beauty of each complementing the other. In the evening twilight or in the morning haze, his colours loose their concreteness and form a system of vibrating patches, and objects become less clearly defined. Yet in Korovin’s best works, as well as conveying an emotional state, he also gives objects an almost tangible material quality.

During the First World War Korovin worked as a camouflage consultant at the headquarters of one of the Russian armies. Despite his poor state of health (an old nervous illness and heart disease) he was often at the front line.

Apart from being incurably ill himself, Korovin had an invalid son who could be treated only in Paris, and on the advice of the People’s Commissar for Education Lunacharsky, he moved to the French capital. Here an exhibition of his works was to have taken place, but his pictures were stolen and the artist was left penniless. He was forced to agree to any kind of work. Under these circumstances Korovin signed various shackling agreements and in a short period, for a negligible fee, painted forty picture of a ‘souvenir’ type—countless ‘Russian Winters’ and ‘Boulevards of Paris’. The rich colours and sweeping style that had marked much of his earlier work now became almost excessive. Indicative of his continuing interest in Russian music and culture was his scenery for a production by the Turin Opera House of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. In the last years of his life he worked fruitfully in many of the major theatres of Europe, America, Asia and Australia. Konstantin Korovin died in 1939. The artist Konslantin Yuon had this to say about his “Korovin’s painting is the embodiment in imagery of the artist’s happiness and joy of living. All the colours of the world beckoned to him and smiled at him”.