Monday, March 5, 2012

Close-Up I: Vincent Van Gogh

I like to look at a painting up close, to see how the artist created the effect.  This week we will look closely at some works in Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum.


 Vincent Van Gogh painted numerous self portraits in his short but productive career.   This is -- according to the sign next to it -- an unfinished self portrait painted in Paris, in the period when Van Gogh was moving from his earlier dark, earthy and rough Dutch style to an emerging and exuberant Impressionist style.

Looked at up close, the painting looks almost careless to me.  See the whitish blob in the left eye, the pinkish stroke that protrudes too far into his mustache, and some blue blobs in the cheek and temple.

But, stepping back, it works just fine, don't you think?

To anticipate questions, the Wadsworth permits its owned works to be photographed handheld and without flash.

29 comments:

Dianne said...

It's good to see the close up of this self portrait Jack ... and as you say, from a distance the blobs and discrepancies blend in - to portray the finished portrait as the artist intended.
How sad Vincent's work was never appreciated at the time it mattered to him.
Beautifully captured.

Rambling Round said...

I like the closeup as well. Great art and photography.

Cezar and Léia said...

How precious! Thanks so much for this Van Goh inspiration, a fabulous start for the week! :)
hugs
Léia

Honest Abe said...

The secret to oil painting is suggestions. The mind and eyes will fill-in the details.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I'm always in awe when watching artists at work, they dib and dab and it doesn't seem to make much sense, until as you say, you step back and look from afar. Did you ever see Rolf Harris paint, he literally almost throws the paint at the canvas, yet it always comes out brilliantly, Google him Jack he's a WA artist, fantastic work.

VP said...

Great painting, it is good they allow photographies. By the way, Vincent van Gogh was a post-Impressionist.

Halcyon said...

I'm excited to see more of this series. I enjoy seeing different artists works. Your close up here is really good.

Sharon said...

What a great way to look at a painting. It makes you think about how an artist is able to put together an image.

Cathy Hudspeth said...

I think he looked like Sting!

Malyss said...

I like to do this too! But how lucky to be allowed to take pics! Yesterday, I visited a Henri Matisse's exhibit, and there were signs everywhere promissing jail and money to pay if ever you'd try to take a picture!

Sylvia K said...

Great capture, Jack! I love the two views! I tend to think that we all have something in common with this painting -- we tend to look a tad better from at least a little distance than we do "up close and personal"!! Well, of course, that's surely true in my case the older I get!! Wonderful post for the day as always! Hope you have a good day!

Sylvia

RedPat said...

I guess that's what makes him a talented artist - they see things that the rest of us don't!

David Thomas said...

Not a happy man. But he reached out to the world through his art.

Lowell said...

I (h)ear you! In fact, I stepped back to get a closer look, as you suggested, bumped into a chair and went head-over-heels. Thanks a lot!

Just kidding! I wonder where van gogh goes on vacation when he goeth?

Dawn said...

The detail in these works never ceases to amaze me.

joo said...

I love him! It's amazing self portrait, isn't it?

JM said...

Yes, Jack, isn't it amazing?!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Stunning, and one of my favorite artists. When I was in Arles his presence could be felt in the cafés, the streets, the sunflower fields.... Must go back!

Bises,
Genie

cieldequimper said...

Van Gogh isn't my favourite but I still think that even close up, especially close up there is something incredible here. So revolutionary at the time.

☆•.¸.Mildred.¸.•☆ said...

Wonderful self portrait! Love Van Gogh!
Thanks for sharing;o)

***
Have a fabulous weekend****

Regina K said...

I am a big fan of the impressionist. I attend an exhibit of Van Gogh in LA back in the late 1990's. I look forward to this week's posts.

SRQ said...

You're so right about close-up versus stepping back. I've never been a big Van Gogh fan...but, this is very nice to see in your art museum.

Tash said...

Terrific lesson in painting. He sure looks like a contemporary man in this self-portrait.

I like that the museums allow photography of their main collections. Same here at LACMA, Getty and Norton Simon. My favorite portait is of Rembrant's son at the Norton Simon. I'll have to post it some day soon.

Virginia said...

Seeing this up close gave me a chill. What a wonderful treat you've shared Jack. I 'm always reminded of the man in the blue coat , well that is what we called him, by Van Gogh hanging in the Rodin in Paris. My Eva at age 5 was wearing a dark blue coat, went up to it, stood beneath and said, "Mumsie, take my picture." A treasure that Melissa and I will never forget.
V

Randy said...

That is so beautiful. There is a large exhibit coming to the Denver Art museum of Van Gogh's work. I can't wait.

Kate said...

A tortured genius. Interesting man, this Van Gogh! Interesting post, too, Jack!

Luis Gomez said...

One of my favorites. Great job Jack!

Steffe said...

I wonder if the whitish blob will affect the value of something like this.

jennyfreckles said...

Interesting post - I think there is supposed to be an optimum viewing distance for most artworks - but I agree it's fascinating to get up close and personal and look at the detail of the work. I've never been in a gallery where they let you take photos, I'm envious.