The Genius of Van Gogh

post impressionism of van gogh

Impressionist Legacy

As we mentioned in article about impressionism, a piece of art that evokes more feeling in its viewers is very popular in modern times. After impressionists made revolution in art introducing a new way of seeing, many art movements evoked after and on of them was Van Gogh painting style that is generally called post-impressionism.

Though he never exhibited with them, Van Gogh was influenced by his friendship with Impressionists. After seeing their paintings in Paris, he began to use brighter colors and broken brushstrokes. However he differed from them in one important way. As he wrote in 1888, “Instead of trying to render what I see before me, I use color in a completely arbitrary way in order to express myself powerfully”.

Inner world on the canvas

Starry Night over the Rhone
Starry Night over the Rhone, Van Gogh

Van Gogh aimed at then 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. He used an impulsive, gestural application of paint and symbolic pure colors to express subjective emotions.

Van Gogh started to use simple pure colors that had not been seen before on the canvases. Before Impressionists and Van Gogh paintings were is muted, formal, structured, and often done in strict rules to convey political and social ideas. Van Gogh was simply expressing himself, his feelings on the canvas. He was very direct, using expressive brushstrokes he was just painting, his style went far beyond conventions like perspective and so on.

Live art

Van Gogh Cafe Table
Cafe Table with Absinthe, Van Gogh

Also Van Gogh tricks the views you into thinking he or she is seeing a painting of a flower, when in reality there are simple abstract brush strokes. Let’s take his Irises painting – these painting generates inside of people the impression of seeing a field of Irises while not actually using all the forms and colors of an actual purple Irises. So his job was to make people feel like they see Irises in life, to make them have that sensation.

When you walk into a room full of paintings and one of them is a Van Gogh you can tell it apart by the way it seems to hover 3 feet in front of the wall and makes the rest of the room seem almost black and white. It is a special magic about them, and everything seems moving in his paintings.

So choosing prints of Van Gogh’s works is considered a very good taste and so it is one of the best options to decorate your walls with one or two of his masterpieces.

Bright impressions of life


At all times people tend to decorate their homes with art that correspond to their inner mood and feelings. Today besides abstractionism or photography, there are classical art movements that still fit modern people inner world perfectly.

In fact classic art is effective to reflect emotions in its viewers as it is understand by everyone, unlike abstract art which is more subtle. Also old masters style seems to be too static now and outrun by photography. Impressionism in its turn aims to highlight bright moments of a happy life – moments which most of people had experienced.

Essence of Impressionism

Nympheas impressionism
Nympheas, Claude Monet

Often considered the first modern movement in painting, Impressionism was actually developed as a formal art practice in Paris in the 1860s prior to spreading throughout Europe and the US.

The students in the academies and the official Salon conveyed the three-dimensionality of forms by means of the subtle shading which was first perfected by the Renaissance masters. The Impressionists, on the other hand, evoked a sense of three-dimensionality by representing the dramatic contrasts of color which can be best observed in vibrant sunlight.

In seeking to capture visually the play of light and shadow and its transformations the Impressionists used rapid brushstrokes to produce paintings that looked rushed and unfinished as opposed to the well-rounded, glossy and polished forms and subtle shadings respected by the Academic system.

Similarly, rather than depicting a posed or characteristic angle of the objects painted, Monet and the Impressionists showed objects from uncharacteristic, and often, truncated perspectives. This truncation of subjects and objects, which is especially obvious in the paintings of Renoir and Degas, openly acknowledges the incompleteness of our field of vision and powers of representation.

A new way to see

Camille Pissarro art
Houses at Bougival, Camille Pissarro

In its day, Impressionism was considered a radical departure from tradition. Looking back, we can see that Impressionism was more than a departure – It changed the very nature of the way people think about art today.

This independence of Impressionists from official Salon and academies was reflected in the art market, which saw the rise of private dealers and growing numbers of bourgeois collectors. This was the rising revolution of Art. Painting of French impressionist were largely obtained by American private collectors at the first half of 20th century, which gave life to this art movement and it is sill very popular today.

To sum up, Impressionism is the root of all modern art, because it managed to release art from preconceived ideas, it changed not only the way life was depicted but the way life was seen.