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How Vincent van Gogh Worked

2011-11-16 | 🔗

Today, Vincent van Gogh has come to fit our idea of the tortured artist. Aside from his art, he's best known for cutting off his ear and committing suicide. Yet new research debates both of these van Gogh moments. Listen in to learn more about van Gogh.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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seeing them see you now available wherever you get. My guests welcomes stuff. You missed in history class from house of works, dot, com well and welcomed the per capita unfair dowdy and I'm going to check avoiding and it seems like the NGO has been in the news of a lot lately. But when I thought about it, I really can't go is always in the news. He is in fact you'll see something about his latest record breaking sailor show his hidden works like paintings that are revealed under paintings, through X, ray. I love those because it's like their seriously his secret hidden, Painting underneath another Van Gogh and then the men's. There's news about fraud, steel and that those kind of exciting in its and weird way, but
Van Gogh, news isn't always all about art. Sometimes it's about the man in that's, partly because the man is. What we ve come to see is the epitome of the tour artists almost even though we ve talked about some other. I think really strong contenders on this path. Catholic Caravan, Mikel Angelo, but then go just has this right? compelling life and I think part of it has to do with the fact that there are so many opposites involved in in what he did and who he was using. immensely talented artists, but almost totally recognised in his lifetime. He was an incredibly warm person, but so mentally unstable and alcoholic. He was dead, that letter writer, but all through the kind of guy who cuts earlier, wraps it out like a president and gives it as a Christmas gift to a prostitute organ I could have that
Annabelle, allegory letter delivering something it sends a message. I am sure about that. I mean he's just got. So much going on his. He make the really interesting figure. So it's not surprising that people still analyzing Van Gogh's health, his mental state and even his cause of death, which was long believed to be suicide and they're coming up with ideas all the time. So we'll talk but the man and his art, but will also talk about some of the more recent theories about his life, as well as the high tech advancements in studying his paintings and just a note to before we go any further. You can tell by now we're gonna Theo Van Gogh, which is the standard american pronunciation. I think the breadth have a different way. They fed yelled out Wanna heareth. Try to save and earth However, it goes, I dont think our throats cut. I mean you might find an amusing that we would just be sad when you
wrote us and made fun of us. So let us go with what we know of Van Gogh, though Vincent Van Gogh was born in the indirect and the Netherlands March Thirtieth. Eighteen, fifty three and his father was a dutch reform. Minister, his mother was a book fellers daughter and after Vincent was born five, more kids and the ones who really remember is his younger brother Theo. He turns out to be one of the most important figures in Vincent's life and young Vincent was the quiet kid who, like nature he'd, often go out Cain and wandering, but it was clear that he'd eventually go into one of the family, businesses, religion or art, so it sixteen. He was at Prentice to his art dealer uncle Who worked at the Hague branch of a well respected, dealership and good job and Van Gogh, eventually located in London learned about the dutch master, is like Rembrandt end, the contemporary french artist, were selling big at the time people like Jennifer swamp lay, and he also group
of british literature and victorian culture taste that really stuck with him throughout his life. But after working alone, for two years in Paris for another bingo was really ready to get out of the business he had suffered is first mental breakdown over and unrequited british love at this point and the work of art dealing just really didn't suit. Him, though he started job hopping is as many twentysomethings do. First, he was the teacher in England by eighteen. Seventy seven. He was a book feller back Netherlands, then he decided to study theology, but quit that in eighteen. Seventy, eight, too good as an avenger in Brussels, he actually left that to become a missionary and Southwest Belgium and with kind of into it, but he was actually fell into an so moved by the poor, impoverished people who he worked within his surrounded him that he gave up all of his worldly possessions. Then the church that
is taking things way way too far and dismissed him from his position, then sent later told an acquaintance quote. They think I'm a madman, because I wanted to be a true Chris, they turned me out, like a dog thing, that I was causing a scandal. The woods, the sky gonna do he's not gonna be an art. Business he's not gonna, be a preacher or a missionary, but gives well other theo who at that point was also an art dealer. Had a few ideas about the Van Gogh was twenty seven and Theo incur TIM to become an artist himself, he likes are keys good at it, and so maybe it will suit his personality, a little better than being a business man or a preacher as much as Van Gogh's. Later work seem to be entirely natural when they were just kind of dashed off in a minute. He sets off in his art career quite seriously. He plans. First to master black and white, drawing figures incorrect perspective, and then he copies Prince
eddies drawing manuals. He studied drawing at Brussels Academy, though he left after. Time. And then ten one. He decided he needed some formal training, and so he took lessons from his cousin Anton move, a respected dutch landscape, painter and his aren't. You uncle even commissioned a couple drawings from him, so things seem to be ramping up a little bit with his new career, whose learning a trade and in eighteen it to Van Gogh, made the jump to oil pants moving in eighteen. Eighty three to a quiet, Netherlands, village, where he could paint landscapes and are still does like nature dislike. He did when he was a kid he can paint peasant You know it's just these bucolic sort of thin and when he came home to his parents, home by that point, within noon and in the Netherlands, he focus even more on these portraits of peasants during the winter you live with them. He did more than forty studies of peasants heads
I encourage you guys to go and look up some of these. If here I mean I'm sure you are familiar with Van Gogh, everybody is, but you might be a little surprise if you are not familiar with his early works. There are very dark brown and dark green and a third of almost many colours, and one of the more famous works from this period covered. Potato eaters is a pretty good place to start I'd say for forgetting a sense of dark very, unlike Van Gogh Van Gogh style yeah. You should really go check out. Some of these pictures they're printed out some for me and they were a big help, while researching so Vanka asked again in eighteen, eighty five to study at Antwerp Academy, mainly so he could see many of Peter Paul Rubens works, but he stayed there only three months before taking off for Paris where Theo was living at the time, and this is where
Van Gogh, really started to become Van Gogh? He saw the work of the impression as in Perth, then he thought japanese Tran. He met contemporaries like a red to lose the track and Paul Boca and Theo set him up with them artwork. personalities too eager to meet Camille Pizarro in Georgia and Ngos. Paintings really started to corporate alot of what he was seeing through, for instance, the broken brush work of impression, as them some homes, the dots of pointillism, and just this really bread. Bright, color and light the kind of things that we associate with him today. One great example from this period is self portrait with a straw, hat, it outlines here, and it just looks completely different from self portraits that he was doing just a year before in Paris. Like you to think of a completely different person, did it if it was not
the portrait of the same man and ironically, fell portrait with a straw hat is done on the back of one of those peasant head dry, The really talk a little bit more about that later to Ngos frugal nature. But this is where he he came in who's out. But after two years in Paris he was ready to be in the countryside again, so he laughed for ILO, which is then South West France, in February eighteen, eighty And all of the Paris exposure to color and a lighter palette just turns to magic and bright sunny, prevails, Van Gogh, paints, blooming fruit, trees, fee the cottages and locals, like the postman Joseph rely on his family and is clearly instead by the japanese prince. He did fourteen paintings of origin. in less than one month and its technique just got bolder from there. I mean just to illustrate this. There's this great quote in the Encyclopaedia Britannica article about Van Gogh. It goes once hesitant to
average from the traditional techniques of painting. He worked so hard to master. He now go free into his individuality, and began squeezing us tubes of oil paint directly on the canvas. But I love that It's too, I mean just the staff and talk about that for a minute. I'm imagining Van Gogh out of pure ass, you know, he's just mastered it he's got all the technique down and go in for hey now obtaining an orchard or whatever, and just squeezing the to ride out onto the onto the canvas sounds fun. It don't sound. it sounds like certain letting go of of conventions are most, but it wasn't fun and Games Van Gogh had the special hope when he came to Allah. He wanted to start an artist commune. The studio of the south were peers. again until this to attract, could come and live together and paint. So he rented Studio called the Yellow House and he ultimately wrote,
Oh so much about when go again comes that Theo ended up advancing again. The money for future pieces of unsold art assent pain him to go, live with his brother, Philip POGO Com It does not really seem like the kind of guy you would want to pay to go live with your sibling. He seems like a pretty unlikely choice for somebody as being an enthusiastic and sometimes seriously depresses Van Gogh was to choose as a house just to give you a little background and go guy. He had abandoned his stockbroker courier. Art and had a reputation of being a bit of a brute. This is before the Tahiti phase, but still Van Gogh was really pumped about the idea of finally getting his artist commune off the ground, and things went ok, or a little more than a month, with the two men producing works and getting along? Probably ok, then trouble struck in a really big way. It was
Christmas, eighteen, eighty eight and just to paint the sea little bit then go hadn't been spending a lot of time. Reading the Christmas books of Charles Dickens, which, if you have read, probably the most famous of Dickens Christmas books, you know that lot at home? They have to do with a guy who has a mental breakdown right around the holidays and not necessarily the most have lifting her. Where mean, maybe if you go through the end, but you could eventually go off track, I think if you read too many of them, he was also spending a lot of time hanging out with GO guy. So on Christmas Eve, police found Van Gogh bleeding from hisself bandaged head. In the yellow. How often left some questions about what on earth happened so as the traditional tail goes, the night before Van Gogh had been talking, not sought to do again, who couldn't get anymore and left the house, so angry heard his name in the street. He turned around
Van Gogh, Hollerin and waving around a razor Van Gogh. Didn't attack Instead, he went home cut off his ear and gave it as a gift to a local prostitute named Rachel telling her quote guard this object carefully. She passed out when she opened it as many people. What I think they'll go girl is interviewed by the police battle thing and he told The Van Gogh must have done this to himself, often after The formalities were over, go gas than to tell it I'm too Theo's. They need get down here immediately and then Dodge he left her parents and did not come back, but a couple years Another fury emerged according to HANS Kaufmann and Rita building on who are, art, historians and who wrote Van Gogh's ear. Pogo guy in the pact of silence, go back. Van Gogh's ear with her razor by a sore,
and then the two guys decided to keep the whole thing secret, pretty wild twist, story. Yen Adam got Nick, actually wrote a great piece on the ear mystery for the new Yorker. In two thousand ten- and he set the scene in his article by noting two important facts- that we should point out for one thing, the NGO, despite the level nature that comes across his correspondence, would have been quote, exhausting to live with, I can kind of understand that two of olive and goes correspondence is on line and that's also very neat to go look out in addition to looking at pictures of his paintings. That he found a really really nice, but if you were with him all the time that could definite he all that mean he describes how the sky looks when he's going out, Walk and how the trees luck and it sounds, lovely and elect but maybe, if you were living in the Yellow House with him, it would get, can all be too much, maybe while the other,
when the got Nick made was that go again. In addition, to being pretty mean and scary was a fantastic Spencer who definitely carried a foil around and Allah when he was going out at night, felt self defence, so Kaufman dance, theorized, that when Van Gogh came near, go gone on the street shouting and waving a razor go again attacked with the sword accident, slicing off part of Van Gogh's ear, then go then picked the up and the two read to an unspoken code of silence and there's some potential evidence out there straight here. There seems to be the one is that the wound was clean. It was the flies and what's imagine too much what it would take with them. During your own ear, but it does not seem like it would be a clean job and then Other factor to consider is that people who sell mutilate sometimes now call Van Gogh's than ironically enough, usually go their arms in their hands, their legs and their trust, not our is, although again I've gotten it pointed out that didn't go would have
better understanding of his ears than most people, since he had painted himself so many times already by this point, another piece of potential ever since the guy's right. These weird hint hint sort of things to each other, for example after Vanka with currently recovered. He writes to go again that he'll shortly Returning has left behind fencing equipment. He says quote I'll in a few days, those terrible in of war will wait until then. I now right you very calmly, but I haven't yet been able to pack up all the rest and the two even have this code word of Swords Acta, which means fish, Vena lick the or something, but it also relates to fencing, meaning a blow or a head and go guy curve, obsessively rights activists in nation to Van Gogh's name, even placing it inside of this little ear like squid.
dude. All drawing some sort of strange factors to consider here and then go It's his own federal allusions to other people too. Not just like these to have a strange correspondence going on to his brother. He writes happily go I and other painters aren't yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapon just swords and were either like that, might be bad enough right. So, whatever, and major early shook up. Thank oh. He went back to work quickly after leaving the hospital, but he had to go back in four nerves. Just a few weeks later to go back to that gotten, article, there's a quote that really illustrates the change that took place inside Van Gogh after that incident. A change that affected has huh outlook as an artist. The Christmas crisis had arrived Oh, if varied effect on Van Gogh's imagination, turning him from a dream of living and working with a community of brother artists to one of painting
an unknown audience that might someday appear a fantasy that was in the end and against the odds, not a fantasy at all so giving up on this idea of the artist com in an end living for the appreciation of his fellow artist. You know a living in harm me together and making work and could teaching each other So it doesn't work if you bring your civil, were giving up on that and just making art for himself accepting or hoping that you know. Eventually. Somebody will be there to appreciate it, which of course, I guess that is ass now and ready in the Twentyth century, who got really into them go but by April. Eighty nine then go, wasn't really recovered men from this attack and he was fearful that another major nervous attack could permanently impede his work. He really didn't like these things, setting him back that way, though he voluntary,
he entered and asylum at thoroughly the province and adjust the sad quote for you around this time. He wrote his sister in this gives you an idea of his state of mind and he is voluntarily committing himself to an asylum. He said every day I take the remedy that the incomparable Dickens prescribes against suicide. It consists of a glass of wine, a piece of bread and cheese and a pipe of tobacco. It isn't complicated. You'll tell me, and you don't think that my melancholy comes close to that place, however, moments Theo Van Gogh spent twelve months in the asylum and he sometimes had these nervous attacks and then sometimes he was really productive. He produced a hundred and fifty canvasses which mean that sounds like a lot to me and when he was first confined to the ground, he painted what he could see him. He liked to paint from Life
though he would do pictures of the wild Guard and the IRA says in the lilac than he would do copies of delicate awe and Rembrandt and when he was finally allow more freedom toward the end of his day, he painted near by weak fields in Cyprus, trees and olive tree. The lot of his most famous painting there actually from this period where he is envy institution he did portraits of his fellow patience. He did fiends inside the hospital he even dead, the starry night this time and thought that it was a failure not at all. He was hoping it would be. The masterpieces hanging on some college fresh eyes now Irene? I was thinking the same thing so finally, sing family in home. He left the asylum and move to oversee lies outside of Paris. He put himself under the of an artist friendly homeopathic doktor, Paul Ferdinand. Go Shea and he got back to work with a vengeance
Two of I think your favorites from the period Sarah Thatch cottages accord of all and the church and over those were painted during that time, yeah. I really like lifelines there. They have a knife and another quite a yellow and super bright as some of the paintings he did in the south of France that they just have this really nice color that thatched cottage, as one has this pale green turned almost the entire painting, which I mean. I know that funds weird, but it ends up being quite lovely, so he's again do you think, a lot of work, but then, in July, eighteen, ninety, perhaps over gills, relating to its financial, dependent, on his brother or just another attack these him he shot himself in the chest in a week field and it took
go to date to die. So there was a lot of time to talk to people about what had happened. He spoke with the police met with Theo and when the police first talked to him, he said quote: I shot myself. I only hope I hadn't botched it. What I have done is nobody else. Is business, I'm free to do what like with my own body when he was examined by a doctor who said that the bullet couldn't be removed. He was asked if he had tried to commit suicide. And responded. I believe so don't is anybody else which sounds little bit suspicious. It's on the one hand, definitive and then yeah so kind of strange leaves it open. I guess which makes way for a new areas like this one. That suggests that think. I didn't really commit suicide, but was murdered it's part of a biography by Gregory White Smith and Stephen Neva. They authors suggests that too
he's visiting for the summer accidentally shot Van Gogh and that he admitted suicide to protect them there reasons for thinking so that for one thing, and was never found, nor were goes. Payments applies also the wheat field. was a mile outside of town which is really far to go. If your shot in the chest, definitely and finally, one of the boys, Renee Sequitur, admit in nineteen. Fifty six that, yes, he and his brother had borrowed the gun from a or borrowed a gun from a local business owner. And yes, they, author often bullied Van Gogh data even send their girlfriends over to hit on shy, awkward, Vincent and really embarrass him, but they didn't to actually shooting Van Gogh kind of an important distinction. In fact, this guy said that the artist stole the guy
the boys had even been in town when the suicide took play. So there is a kind of straw, things going on here, but also not really definitive information, but, according to a recent article in art info France, the Van Museum, isn't changing its story, so they're not going along with with the new theory. Quite LEO Johansson who's, the curator at the museum says quote, we do agree with us that there are many unanswered questions regarding Van Gogh's death. It's just that at this point we feel there is enough evidence to prove the new interpretation and therefore we find it's too early to abandon suicide as the cause of death. So who knows? Maybe we'll get more information on this in the near future, we ve learned that called cases that are hundreds of years old can be solved. Sometimes very true, but what about his legacy? After his sunflower filled? Funeral unaware of NGO finally started to become famous
so well known, saying that Van Gogh produce nine heard paintings and one thousand one hundred works on paper and only sold one in in his lifetime. Only one article had been written about him, but that gives the false sense then go just completely unknown, which is not the case right now. People who could see his work did often like it goes like money and go and desire of thought that it was fantastic thought that he was a we really great artists that his fame hadn't spread, yet where it hadn't sprat or taste for his work and spread. So Theo. Who was a successful our deal or have been trying to promote his brothers work. For years I mean, in addition to supporting him financially. He was kind of his chair in in the art world. He had absolute faith in him and really, tragically, he die just a few months after Vincent and passed on that that faith,
an Vincent's work to his widow Joanna who had a baby son, often in consensus for it. So Joanna, also known as Joe for sure who really came to us to be the Van Gogh champion after his death, She called on her family in her husband's art contacts and started showing the pieces. She followed. The US advice to keep the words together, not just sell them off piece by piece to whoever came along looking, and I think this is a remarkable fact that, as late as nineteen o six, she could still show a complete that of Van Gogh works and his work influence the german expressionist published correspondence gave folks all sorts of insight into his life and his technique and there really lovely their filled with sketches their poetic there.
We friendly, as you said before, and as we ve made quite clear. His life is perfect for research by professionals of all disciplines. Psychologists have tried to diagnose him. Some say that he had epilepsy, some say skates Some say that Vincent Theo and his sister may have all had an inherited metabolic disorder, but there's author lots of modern research taking place around his works are not just his life. Two of my favorite examples of this are really science. The hi tech like one, is that there is a Cornell electrical engineering. Professor named See Richard Johnson Junior, who have used computer algorithms to create weave density maps of the Ngos. Canvasses, though the density of the thread patterns let's historians, no, if one painting was made from the same role of canvas as another, though you could tell that by certain work is often
because it was made right next to a known work or maybe a certain work is a fraud because it doesn't match the density pattern, at all and then probably the most helpful thing. it helps. Aren't historians placed the painting in order they were made, guess they can tell that canvas was right next to the other, he Polly painted them around the same time according to a work published on Van Gogh and analytical chemistry. Chemist figured out the reason why some of Ngos, brilliant chrome, yellows, have faded over the years by using uv light and stimulating the aging process of old paint. They found that chromium out in the white pigment lit upon, so they figured. He must have stretched his yellow paint with white, and must have stretched his yellow paint with white unknowingly created a problem for conservators down the road, and I thought that was such an interesting piece of news cause. It helped answer a question I had had, which was held in Vienna,
e pay is rather live and by what are usually pretty expensive supply. The main oil paints and canvasses expensive stuff with oh jobs, though Theo obviously supported, has contributed much of the money that Van Gogh used to live, but the Ngos clearly penny pinching to thoroughly painting over the old canvasses. We mention that historians have figured that a huge number of ngos paintings Polyte, you have other paintings. them and then even going as far as to stretch his pay. I think it is interesting that is, but considering support that Theo gave Vincent, it's probably appropriate, that a nineteen fourteen, remains were relocated to rest near event sense, so anyone stopped to pay our respects to the artist can also visit the grave of his tireless supporter- and I think fair, appropriate somebody who had just total faith in his in his family member in turn
to be right, even though neither of them got see it. Unfortunately, though, I had fun researching, and for those of you who are interested in learning more there's so much I mean obviously go look at pictures either in museums, of course, were on but the trove of letters is so fine. I mean I just looked at random ones, picking different letters to different correspondence from different time periods, and I think it really helped give me a better sense of kind of person, and then go was so I highly, and I also want to thank rosy for suggesting this topic to us that, with the fun when it definitely was left you, anymore. Topics like those that you want to share with us- or maybe just you- want to write in and share your favorite works Van Gogh with us, and let us know what your favorites you can write us at history, podcast, a house, the forks dot com, where you can look up on Facebook or on Twitter, listen history,
We also have a load of art related articles. How Cuba's somewhere else, the real is aware: cathayward importance, no I've been girl. Not yet, though, you can check out any of those in the meantime there in the entertainment faction, and you can find that by visiting our homepage, W W W has the floor three short a check out our new video podcast stuff from the Future Joint house. Staff as we explore the most promising and perplexing possibilities of tomorrow. The house efforts Iphone, has arise, download it today, and I do this episode
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