Vincent van Gogh Known not only for his brilliant brushstrokes but also for the tragic end of his life which exposed his mental illnesses. In 10 years, he created more than 30 self-portraits, some of which have been sold for millions of dollars. However, a self-portrait from 1889 is the acclaimed artist’s most haunting portrait to date. Often called the Oslo Self-Portrait, which is owned by Nasjönalmuseet in Norway, it has been a mystery solved as recently as 2020. The art world simply refused to believe whose work it might have been. Van Gogh due to missing vibrant colors And the apparent sadness in the painting. After decades of skepticism, this sad self-portrait has been certified as a genuine work by Vincent van Gogh and the only known work painted during psychosis. What is the story behind this artwork and why did Van Gogh paint so many self-portraits during his lifetime?
The haunting reality of the artist and his painting
The artist admitted himself to a small asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, in May 1889, following the infamous incident of van Gogh having his ears cut off and handed over to a prostitute for ‘safekeeping’. It was there that he created some of the most spectacular works of his lifetime, including The Starry Night. However, he often went through severe psychotic episodes that lasted for weeks, during which he had no idea what he said or did. One such incident happened in July 1889 which lasted for one and a half months. This frightened him and he painted this painting to show his brother that he was doing better. The artist wrote in September to his brother Theo in a self-portrait “attempting since I was sick”. Van Gogh Afraid to admit that he was in the same position as the other residents in the asylum. He wanted to try to paint more and show the world that he was of a sound mind.
Did van Gogh paint this sad self-portrait?
Vincent van Gogh’s mental state after his alleged suicide was not hidden from anyone. The Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo bought the painting in 1910, making it – in theory – the first van Gogh self-portrait to enter the public collection. But questions over its style and use of color have led some experts to doubt its authenticity. The museum then asked the Van Gogh Museum to conduct a study of the style, technique and provenance in 2014, the results of which were eventually revealed to the world in 2020. One of the reasons for doubt about the authenticity of the work was van goghs The use of a palette knife to flatten parts of a painting, which is considered unusual. Critics believe that the artist was deliberately trying to extract life from the picture and that it reflects his state of mind.
Van Gogh deliberately hid his severed ear in the painting and wrote on 22 August 1889 that he was still “troubled” but felt able to paint again. This picture, if placed next to his other pictures, shows how his health was deteriorating over time. After authenticating this piece of art, Van Gogh The museum said “Oslo Self-Portrait depicts someone who is mentally ill; his timid, slanting gaze is easily recognizable and is often found in patients suffering from depression and psychosis.
Why did van Gogh make so many self-portraits?
A very common question asked by Van Gogh lovers is why artist Painted so many self-portraits. Was he so vain or did he just want to convince himself and the world that he was mentally fit to paint? There is a famous quote from the artist: ‘People say – and I am willing to believe it – that it is difficult to know oneself – but it is also not easy to paint oneself.’ according to Van Gogh MuseumHe didn’t paint self-portraits because that was pointless. He made his self-portraits because he wanted people to practice painting. While he was in Paris (1886–88), he painted over 25 self-portraits and because he lacked money and struggled to find models in that period, he painted himself. He also painted self-portraits on the backs of others pictures to save money. A hidden self-portrait was discovered in the collection of The National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh in July 2022. Self-portraits help us to know more about his personality. Van Gogh often showed himself restrained and serious in his paintings. He described the last one done in Paris as ‘quite spotless and sad’. […] Something like, say, face – death’. This lets the audience know how mentally and physically exhausted he was at that time.
Artists from around the world have drawn inspiration Vincent’s Self Portrait, so much so that they have been reproduced an infinite number of times since the beginning of the 20th century. The self-portraits tell the story of a man who was a man of oppressed genius. Someone who loved yellow and was very fond of sunflowers because they gave him hope that one day he would be better. The Oslo Self-Portrait shows him at his lowest, experiencing a psychotic episode, and no matter how haunting it may be to watch, it makes you appreciate Van Gogh for who he is despite his struggles in life. Was – a suffering genius.
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