5 Answers That Prove Van Gogh Was Not An Impressionist

Impressionism is an art style that rose to popularity among painters in the 1870s and 1880s. It was characterized by the use of thin, small, but visible brush strokes and stress on the accurate depiction of light. The qualities change over time. Impressionist painters painted more realistic scenes and often painted outdoors. Even though many art critics disapproved of this style, it was widely accepted by the public.

Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most well-known painters of the 19th century. But was he an impressionist?

Did Van Gogh Use Short Brush Strokes In His Paintings?

Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear

In one of Van Gogh’s most famous painting, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear,  the painting was originally meant to depict turmoil. The colors were contrasting, but changed over time.

It’s clear that Van Gogh had used long brush strokes that ran vertically. This contradicts the characteristics of an impressionist painting, which requires short brush strokes.

Are The Objects In His Painting Depicted Accurately?

Starry Night is one of Van Gogh’s best artworks. This painting denotes his increasing madness as time passed. It also displays his interest in astronomy. Unlike impressionists who paint objects exactly how they are, Van Gogh used imaginary and real elements in his work.

According to the Griffith Park Observatory, Van Gogh represented the stars and the Moon as exactly like how they were on that day but included spirals and swirls in the painting, clearly imaginary.

Were The Colors In His Painting Applied Side by Side With Little Or No Mixing?

Wheat Field with Cypresses Our hand-painted reproduction of Wheatfield with Cypresses
Mainstream impressionists used colors side by side in their paintings and used little to no mixing. Taking Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses into consideration, it’s evident that Van Gogh used different shades of blue for the sky and different shades of yellow for the wheat field.

That makes it clear that he mixed colors in order to get a different but creative image of the sky.

Did He Avoid Using Black Paint? 

Starry Night over the Rhone Our hand-painted reproduction of Starry Night over the Rhône

The use of black paint is completely avoided in pure impressionism. Dark colors are obtained by mixing complementary colors. In his masterpiece: Starry Night over the Rhône, it's clear that Van Gogh used black paint. In this painting, Van Gogh captures the reflection of the gas lighting in the locality of Arles that fall on the waters of the river Rhône.

This shows the beauty and importance of artificial lighting, rather than the impressionist idea that depicts only the importance and qualities of natural lighting.

Do The Colors Used In His Paintings Differ From The Object Or Scenery?

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers Our hand-painted reproduction of Vase with 15 Sunflowers

In the painting Vase with 15 Sunflowers, Van Gogh clearly made the painting more vibrant and colorful than the actual image. The color yellow is found to be more bright, vibrant and intense than the actual object.

This painting does have an impressionist view which has accurate depictions, and is an enhanced painting of reality.

From the above, it's clear that Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter rather than an impressionist painter. Post-impressionism is a characteristic that doesn’t follow any specific method or style. Van Gogh was called by Roger Fry, an art critic, as a “Post-Impressionist” since his styles and methods clearly separate him from other impressionists.

You may also like to read: When was Van Gogh inspired by the impressionists?  

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      29-06-2017 18:12     Comments ( 0 )
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