Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh

1. Song Vincent (Starry Starry Night) Don McLean
2. Arles - Vincent Van Gogh's Home
3. Vincent Van Gogh’s works. The Night Cafe
4. Akira Kurosawa - Van Gogh dream
5. Vincent Van Gogh. General information and biography.

1. Song Vincent (Starry Starry Night) Don McLean

"Vincent" is a song by Don McLean written as a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. It is also known by its opening line, "Starry Starry Night", a reference to van Gogh's painting The Starry Night. The song also describes different paintings done by the artist.
McLean wrote the lyrics in 1971 after reading a book about the life of the artist. The following year, the song became the number one hit in the U.K. and No. 12 in the U.S.
Song interpretation
Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night"
The song clearly demonstrates a deep-seated admiration for not only the work of van Gogh, but also for the man himself. The song includes references to his landscape works, in lines such as "sketch the trees and the daffodils" and "morning fields of amber grain" - which describe the amber wheat that features in several paintings. There are also several lines that may allude to van Gogh's self-portraits: perhaps in "weathered faces lined in pain / are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand", McLean is suggesting that van Gogh may have found some sort of consolation in creating portraits of himself. There is, too, a single line describing van Gogh's most famous set of works, Sunflowers. "Flaming flowers that brightly blaze" not only draws on the luminous orange and yellow colours of the painting, but also creates powerful images of the sun itself, flaming and blazing, being contained within the flowers and the painting.
In the first two choruses, McLean pays tribute to van Gogh by reflecting on his lack of recognition: "They would not listen / they did not know how / perhaps they'll listen now." In the final Chorus, McLean says "They would not listen / They're not listening still / Perhaps they never will." This is the story of van Gogh: unrecognised as an artist until after his death. The lyrics suggest that van Gogh was trying to "set [people] free" with the message in his work. McLean feels that this message was made clear to him: "And now I understand what you tried to say to me," he sings. Perhaps it is this eventual understanding that inspired McLean to write the song.
There are also references to van Gogh's sanity and his suicide. Throughout his life, van Gogh was plagued with mental disorders, particularly depression. He "suffered for [his] sanity" and eventually "took [his] life as lovers often do."
For Chinese people
Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.
Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.
Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.
Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they'll listen now.
For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.
Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.
Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...

2. Arles - Vincent Van Gogh's Home

The Yellow House - The Studio of the South

Unfortunately this building was bombed during WWII. Today a newsstand and boulangerie stand in its place.
Address: Place Lamartine

Café Van Gogh

This is almost the same café terrace on the Place de Forum in Arles as when painted in Sep 1888
Still operational today and now named Café Van Gogh, this is the Café that Van Gogh painted in The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night.

L'Espace Van Gogh

This is the hospital where Van Gogh was taken after he cut off a portion of his ear. He also painted the interior courtyard of this former hospital.
This image shows the courtyard of the Hospital at Arles as it is today and as Vincent painted it in 1889

The Langlois Bridge

This is a bridge that Vincent liked for it's Japanese look. He painted this bridge in The Langlois Bridge at Arles. Visitors can see this bridge in the South of Arles
The Langlois Bridge in Arles was painted on the right side of the river in May 1888 and the bridge survives to this day
This photo depicts this same Langlois Bridge painted on the same day from the left bank of the creek.

3. Vincent Van Gogh’s works. The Night CafeYoutube:

The Night Café (original French title: Le Café de nuit) is an oil painting created in Arles in September 1888, by Vincent van Gogh. Its title is inscribed lower right beneath the signature.
The interior depicted is the Café de la Gare, 30 Place Lamartine, run by Joseph-Michel and his wife Marie Ginoux, who in November 1888 posed for Van Gogh's and Gauguin's Arlésienne; a bit later, Joseph Ginoux evidently posed for both artists, too.


The painting was executed on industrial primed canvas of size 30 (French standard). It depicts the interior of the cafe, with a half-curtained doorway in the center background leading, presumably, to more private quarters. Five customers sit at tables along the walls to the left and right, and a waiter in a light coat, to one side of a pool table near the center of the room, stands facing the viewer.
The five customers depicted in the scene have been described as "three drunks and derelicts in a large public room [...] huddled down in sleep or stupor." .
Van Gogh wrote many letters to his brother Theo van Gogh, and often included details of his latest work. The artist wrote his brother more than once about The Night Café.
In August 1888 the artist told his brother, Theo, in a letter: “Today I am probably going to begin on the interior of the café where I have a room, by gas light, in the evening. It is what they call here a “café de nuit” (they are fairly frequent here), staying open all night. “Night prowlers” can take refuge there when they have no money to pay for a lodging, or are too drunk to be taken in.”
In one of the letters he describes this painting:
“ have tried to express the terrible passions of humanity by means of red and green. The room is blood red and dark yellow with a green billiard table in the middle; there are four lemon-yellow lamps with a glow of orange and green. Everywhere there is a clash and contrast of the most alien reds and greens, in the figures of little sleeping hooligans, in the empty dreary room, in violet and blue. The blood-red and the yellow-green of the billiard table, for instance, contrast with the soft tender Louis XV green of the counter, on which there is a rose nosegay. The Iwhite clothes of the landlord, watchful in a corner of that furnace, turn lemon-yellow, or pale luminous green.
The next day , he wrote Theo: "In my picture of the Night Café I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit a crime. So I have tried to express, as it were, the powers of darkness in a low public house, by soft Louis XV green and malachite, contrasting with yellow-green and harsh blue-greens, and all this in an atmosphere like a devil's furnace, of pale sulphur. And all with an appearance of Japanese gaiety, and the good nature of Tartarin."
He also wrote: "It is color not locally true from the point of view of the stereoscopic realist, but color to suggest the emotion of an ardent temperament."
The violent exaggeration of the colours and the thick texture of the paint made the picture "one of the ugliest pictures I have done", Van Gogh wrote at one point He also called it "the equivalent though different, of The Potato Eaters", which it resembles somewhat in its use of lamplight and concerns for the condition of people in need.

Reaction of critics and scholars

The work has been called one of Van Gogh's masterpieces and one of his most famous.
Unlike typical Impressionist works, the painter does not project a neutral stance towards the world or an attitude of enjoyment of the beauty of nature or of the moment. The painting is an instance of Van Gogh's use of what he called "suggestive colour" or, as he would soon term it, "arbitrary colour" in which the artist infused his works with his emotions, typical of what was later called Expressionism.
The objects of pleasure (billiard table, wine bottles and glasses) are contrasted in the picture with the "few human beings absorbed in their individual loneliness and despair", Antonia Lant commented.
The perspective of the scene is one of its most powerful effects, according to various critics. Schapiro described the painting's "absorbing perspective which draws us headlong past empty chairs and tables into hidden depths behind a distant doorway — an opening like the silhouette of the standing figure." Lant described it as a "shocking perspectival rush, which draws us, by the converging diagonals of floorboards and billiard table, towards the mysterious, courtained doorway beyond."

Gauguin's competition piece

Gauguin's Night Café at Arles
Soon after his arrival in Arles, Paul Gauguin painted the same location, as a background to his portrait of Madame Ginoux. While the Van Gogh painting depicts the café as a room of isolation, Gauguin's Night Café at Arles mixes the concepts of isolation (to the painting's left) and spirited socializing (in the center), behind her.

4. Akira Kurosawa - Van Gogh dream

Crows is centered around a young art student who has a great appreciation for the works of Vincent van Gogh. It begins in a gallery where the student is admiring Van Gogh's displayed works, though he concentrates on The Langlois Bridge (below) and he is abruptly within a living painting.
The artist inquires about Vincent van Gogh's whereabouts and they point him to a field, but warn him that van Gogh has been institutionalized for insanity. As the artist approaches van Gogh, Gogh asks him, "Why aren't you painting?" From here it is apparent that van Gogh, though a great painter and a great appreciator of natural beauty, is clearly insane. "The sun, it compels me to paint. I can't be wasting my time talking to you" he says as he leaves, likely a representation of the time left in the day to the time left he has to live. The artist loses sight of van Gogh, and searches for him, wandering in and out of different van Gogh paintings as though they were worlds unto themselves. As van Gogh disappears over the horizon of his painting, Crows, the film returns to reality. The young artist is once again back in the gallery, and he takes off his hat in respect to the great artist.
Crows is a tribute to the works of Vincent van Gogh through the POV of Akira Kurosawa, himself, being that the main character is an art student (as was Kurosawa during his early years). In addition, the main character wears Kurosawa's trademark white hat. The visuals are surprisingly stunning in Crows, as the locations are dressed to appear as though they were van Gogh's paintings truly come to life. Crows is also an homage to Akira Kurosawa, himself, because two famous American directors, and fans of Kurosawa, played a hand in this act: The actor portraying Vincent van Gogh is none other than Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York) and the visual effects were provided by George Lucas, himself, and his special effects group, Industrial Light and Magic.
Van Gogh dream (Part 1) and Van Gogh dream (Part 2)

5. Vincent Van Gogh. Biography.

Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1890
Country : Netherlands
Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for overzealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty.
The works of his early Dutch period are somber-toned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is "The Potato Eaters" (1885). In that year van Gogh went to Antwerp where he discovered the works of Rubens and purchased many Japanese prints.
In 1886 he went to Paris to join his brother Théo, the manager of Goupil's gallery. In Paris, van Gogh studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin, and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short brushstrokes of the Impressionists. His nervous temperament made him a difficult companion and night-long discussions combined with painting all day undermined his health. He decided to go south to Arles where he hoped his friends would join him and help found a school of art. Gauguin did join him but with disastrous results. Near the end of 1888, an incident led Gauguin to ultimately leave Arles. Van Gogh pursued him with an open razor, was stopped by Gauguin, but ended up cutting a portion of his own ear lobe off. Van Gogh then began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment.
In May of 1890, he seemed much better and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later he was dead, having shot himself "for the good of all." During his brief career he had sold one painting. Van Gogh's finest works were produced in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line. Van Gogh's inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature.

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