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The Art Story Homepage Artists Vincent van Gogh

"It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures."

Vincent van Gogh Signature


The iconic tortured artist, Vincent Van Gogh strove to convey his emotional and spiritual state in each of his artworks. Although he sold only one painting during his lifetime, Van Gogh is now one of the most popular artists of all time. His canvases with densely laden, visible brushstrokes rendered in a bright, opulent palette emphasize Van Gogh's personal expression brought to life in paint. Each painting provides a direct sense of how the artist viewed each scene, interpreted through his eyes, mind, and heart. This radically idiosyncratic, emotionally evocative style has continued to affect artists and movements throughout the 20th century and up to the present day, guaranteeing Van Gogh's importance far into the future.

Key Ideas

Van Gogh's dedication to articulating the inner spirituality of man and nature led to a fusion of style and content that resulted in dramatic, imaginative, rhythmic, and emotional canvases that convey far more than the mere appearance of the subject.
Although the source of much upset during his life, Van Gogh's mental instability provided the frenzied source for the emotional renderings of his surroundings and imbued each image with a deeper psychological reflection and resonance.
Van Gogh's unstable personal temperament became synonymous with the romantic image of the tortured artist. His self-destructive talent was echoed in the lives of many artists in the 20th century.
Van Gogh used an impulsive, gestural application of paint and symbolic colors to express subjective emotions. These methods and practice came to define many subsequent modern movements from Fauvism to Abstract Expressionism.
Detail of <i>Wheatfield with Crows</i> (1890) by Vincent van Gogh
Detail of Wheatfield with Crows (1890) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent expressed his life via his works. As he famously said, "real painters do not paint things as they are... they paint them as they themselves feel them to be."

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Vincent van Gogh
Interactive chart with Vincent van Gogh's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Jean-François MilletJean-François Millet
Anton MauveAnton Mauve
Claude MonetClaude Monet
Honoré DaumierHonoré Daumier
Eugène DelacroixEugène Delacroix

Personal Contacts

Henri de Toulouse-LautrecHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Paul SignacPaul Signac
Theo van GoghTheo van Gogh


Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Years Worked: 1880 - 1890
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist


Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Paul KleePaul Klee
Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning

Personal Contacts

Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin
Albert AurierAlbert Aurier
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro



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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 21 Jan 2012. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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