Vincent van Gogh – sunny paintings about poor people

Red Vineyard of Arles is surprisingly enough the only art work Vincent van Gogh managed to sell during his lifetime. At the time it fetched a modest fee of what in todays money would be around 1000E. That is an abolute steal. Nowadays its one of the most valuable paintings in the world.

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This painting is called the sower. I like this work because of the contrast of the colors but also because he uses his signature brushstrokes to give the work energy. The sower should be a topic that interested him since he was the son of a minister in church. He even tried to become a minister himself, but he was refused entrance in school because he refused to do latin exams because he considered it a dead language. About this painting Vincent wrote to his brother:

I couldn’t care less what the colours are in reality.

The colors he used were complementary and symbolic rather than meant to accurately depict the wheatfield. Vincent was inspired to do paintings with the sower as motiv by a famous artist called Millet.

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This work is also called the sower but here Vincent van Gogh changed the composition so that the sun also could be interpreted as a halo (signifying reference or admiration for someone). Both the Red Vineyard at Arles and this sower suggests that Vincent felt for the poor. Not surprising because he volunteered for a while preaching for mineworkers which gave him the nickname Jesus of the mineworkers.

He also painted some reapers:

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This is again a typical example of van Gogh painting the same place several times, but on different time of the day.

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This painting of Raising of Lazarus is one of his few art works dealing directly with christiany. Here the sun symbolises life as well as stressing that Lazarus has risen just like the sun is on its rise.

The same idea applies to the painting on the right which is called PietàPietà means that Jesus body was in the lap of his mother Mary after he was crucified by the Romans. There are many famous paintings and sculptures of this event. The light sky in the background that looks like dawn promises the viewer that this is not the end of the story but rather the beginning since Christians believe that He will rise again. So here the sunlight plays an important role even though its not as bright as in Lazarus Rising.

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