"Wheat Field with Cypresses" by Van Gogh
The genius Van Gogh is one of the most inspiring and motivating among the great masters of the Post-Impressionism Era of the Art. This painter is considered to be the most outstanding and brilliant after Rembrandt. Therefore, the analysis of Van Gogh’s work is a challenging and exciting experience.
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I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and selected the work ‘Wheat Field with Cypresses’ (1889) by Van Gogh for the analysis. This painting amazed me the most of all by the freshness of its overall vision as well as by the vivid and irresistible impression it had left after the first glance. The current work presents the analysis of the significance of the selected work in terms of art technique and composition as well as the discussion of the cultural and historical background of the masterpiece by Van Gogh.
Cultural and Historical Content
After the Romantic style of landscape painting by such artists as Rousseau and Friedrich, Vincent van Gogh would begin painting landscapes and portraits of his own while pulling some of the stylistic elements of the Romantic while adding his own waves and swirls (Silverman) to create new compositions.
Hence, the artist may be regarded as innovative and, at the same time, creative painter of his own epoch. Furthermore, Van Gogh is a true and vivid representative of the era of post-impressionism.
First of all, it is essential to underline that the life of the artist was full of tragedies, especially when it concerned his private life. Hence, Van Gogh was a very emotional person. As a result, all his paintings were filled with the emotions, sophisticated taste and exquisite beauty. Furthermore, his overall perception of the surrounding world as well as its conceptual framework was sufficiently sharpened by the diagnosis of epileptic disorders. The work ‘Wheat Field with Cypresses” is regarded as a logical and relevant reflection of the artist’s daily routine as far as at that period of time Van Gogh was at the asylum. The artist agreed willingly to attend the St Remy asylum after one more epileptic disorder. Though, being in the asylum never prevented him from creating the art.
Actually, it was the embodiment of the eternal beauty of the nature seized in the moment by the eyes of the brilliantly talented painter. Furthermore, Van Gogh saw this landscape quite often and it could become a usual and even boring picture. Though, the picture is very vivid, emotional and multidimensional. Hence, it is apparent that the artist managed to paint the usual landscape with such strong emotions and feelings of amazement that the viewer can feel it even few centuries afterwards.
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Actually, Vincent van Gogh is considered to be the outstanding master in terms of taking an ordinary, nondescript scenario and transforming it by means of the art into something monumental. The work ‘Wheat Field with Cypresses’ is a vivid sample of the fact that whereas other artists would disregard such a scenario in XIX century as being worthy and perspective to be painted and presented to the audience, Van Gogh just took them and created real masterpieces. It is relevant to cite the words of Van Gogh concerning the discussed piece of art which he wrote to his brother Theo:
I have a canvas of cypresses with some ears of wheat, some poppies, a blue sky like a piece of Scotch plaid; the former painted with a thick impasto ... and the wheat field in the sun, which represents the extreme heat, very thick too.
Suh is inclined to regard the letters to the brother a self-expression of the artist as the one with the self-expression by means of art. Hence, the discussed piece of art may be considered significant and meaningful for the artist and is a precious piece of his cultural heritage.
Analysis of the Individual Design Elements
The analysis of the individual design elements involves the work’s composition as well as such constituent elements as texture, color, line, balance, scale, proportions, surface and contrast. It is relevant to start with the analysis of the color and texture.
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The picture is abundant in colors, and this aspect makes the masterpiece more vivid, close to real life and emotionally bright. Hence, the author used such colors as green, blue, white, yellow and several hints of red. It is essential to underline that such colors as green and blue are presented in several tints and variations of tone and shades. The yellows color is approaching the tint of golden and is highlighted by the strings of green and the spots of red. Such an approach makes the whole part with the wheat field warmer and more vivid. It embodies the diversity and beauty of the nature.
Furthermore, it is significant to underline the gradation of the green color. It is presented on the canvas as the most intense and bright color. The darkest tone is the tone of the green color. Hence, it is the most expressive and the tensest color on the picture. The texture of the picture is quite rough. This type of texture tends to contribute to the overall impression of the viewer as far as the image of the landscape looks very smooth and vivid when it is looked at a distance of several meters. Though, the impression of smoothness and softness of the picture disappears at a closer look. Furthermore, the colors are primarily muted, though sufficiently intense and vivid. The brushwork is gestural. The lines are depicted smoothly and freely, whereas the balance is achieved by means of virtuous unity of the lines, warm and intense colors which are properly aligned with the light ones, the harmony of the depicted objects and the significance of the details on the picture. The contrast is not observed on the picture, as far as all the elements are properly aligned with each other. The surface is rough and is a significant sample of the individual style of the artist.
Thus, my visit to the museum was an exciting event. I observed the work by Van Gogh from different perspectives and analyzed it in the current paper in terms of personal visual experience as well as on the basis of the cultural and historical context. Hence, the picture is the brilliant sample of the post-impressionist art and may be fairly considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh.