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Self-portrait of Van Gogh: 5 curiosities not to be missed

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During his life Vincent Van Gogh produces about 40 portraits. Most of them are created between 1886 and 1889, in fact it seems that in these years the artist makes about 37 portraits and each of them shows us at least part of his troubled life.

How to interpret Van Gogh's self-portrait

The self-portrait is born as a pictorial genre in the Renaissance, a period in which artists become total protagonists of the canvas and not just part of it. In Van Gogh's case, portraits represent much more, as the artist makes himself known not only externally, but also internally, "giving" the viewer a different vision, trusting in the latter. 

In fact, compared to what happens in 1400 and 1500, now the artist not only portrays himself to celebrate and to be known at a professional level, but he tries to describe his personality, his emotions, even when they are real torments, as it happens precisely in the case of Van Gogh.

Analysis of Van Gogh's self-portrait

If you look closely at the various portraits of Vincent Van Gogh, you can perceive a certain period of the painter's life, how he lives his life at a given time and what his anxieties are. The background always plays an important role in understanding the artist's true state of mind and mood.

Special features regarding Van Gogh's gaze

Looking at Van Gogh's portraits, one can see that the artist's gaze is not often directed towards the viewer. In fact, the artist's gaze seems to be turned in another direction and the impression is that the painter thinks of something else. Van Gogh's intention is to encourage the viewer to look at the portrait in its entirety and to discover what the artist's eyes and state of mind hide.

Pictorial style used in self-portraits

Looking at the paintings in question, it is impossible not to notice that in Van Gogh's self-portraits there is a sharp contrast between the stirring of the brushstrokes and the apparent calm of the painter's face. The expression of the face is very firm, controlled, but the swirls of colour create a clear contrast, and this shows that the painter is imposing a certain discipline on himself, but then he explodes.

Where you can see the self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

As previously mentioned, Van Gogh creates many self-portraits, one of the last of which is the one he makes shortly before his death, in 1889, which he donates to his brother, Theo. You can admire this portrait at the Musée d'Orsay, and this work is one of the most important in the Parisian museum. 

In this self-portrait, the painter shows himself with a firm, calm face and a fixed gaze, but around him one can see torment and chaos. The painting is realized in September 1889, and a few months later, in July 1890, he will end his life. 

During the last months of his life, he produces several works, above all concerning nature, but he paints only one self-portrait, the one that is now preserved in Paris, at the Musée d'Orsay.

Article by: Aurora Caraman.

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