TYPICAL DUTCH GIFTS
An artist ahead of his time?
What lives in art and is eternally living, is first of all the painter, and then the painting.
– Vincent van Gogh
His death explains his art as van Gogh’s work was never art for art’s sake. As evidenced in the letters he wrote on one of his pieces “The Night Café, 1888”, he was deeply passionate about the art he created. In this letter, as with others, he explains the emotions that drove him to create this piece, the passion that went into his choice of colors, the ‘terrible passions of humanity’ he sought to recreate.
His paintings to a large extent symbolize what he was feeling and his subjective reality of the world. In contrast to some paintings that do not have any deeper meaning than what is on the canvas, van Gogh’s art was symbolic of his feelings at the time of painting. In this respect, they can be classified as autobiographical, and his paintings are only understood in the context of what he intended.
Van Gogh’s emotionally explicit paintings furthered the development of a new style of painting in modern art called Expressionism, which is “characterized by the use of symbols, bright colors and a style that expresses the artist’s inner feelings about his subject.” His work was also characterized by large brush strokes and strong colors; this technique used to distinguish his art from his contemporaries with ever-increasing technological advancements for assessment.