A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

1570 words - 7 pages

‘A picture paints a thousand words’

“Artists can be influenced by their experience of the world and make artworks as a result”

Artists live a life of their own, they express their feelings and experiences through the art of drawing and painting just as a poet expresses his feelings through poetry. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and René Magritte (1898-1967) are today recognized as some of the greatest painters in European art who in their life loved to express the world, their experiences and themselves through art

Vincent Van Gogh started his career as an artist in 1880; with the influence of art in his life from a young age as his family were art dealers. He started art as realism ...view middle of the document...

He wrote to his brother Theo about how the Japanese art made him feel much gayer and happier. His artwork then became very influenced by Japanese art and he began to incorporate it into his style because of the profound way it depicted nature and because of the way it impacted his mood. His earlier paintings of peasant life and dark somber scenes were very different to the paintings he painted in Paris, because of the Japanese art influence and the delightful rich colours. He started to paint black lines in his art which was adopted by Japanese art; this set him apart from impressionists who banished black from their pallet.
Vincent painted sunflowers again and again in his life, he said “instead of trying to reproduce exactly what I see before my eyes, I use colour more arbitrarily so as to express myself more forcibly”
At the end of his life Van Gogh suffered from fits of depression and actual breakdown which influenced his artwork. His pictures were full of emotional intensity as he struggled to paint during periods of calm between the distresses of his delusional fits.

In 1890 Van Gogh painted a picture called Almond Blossom, which was a painting of a tree that was influenced by Japanese art. ‘Almond tree’ is a symbol of new life which ties in with the purpose of the painting. This painting was for his newborn Nephew named Vincent Willem. This artwork reflects the time Van Gogh was intensely interested in Japanese art because of the way it made him feel happier with the bright colors and decorative patterns. He recreated Japan on a canvas as if he were living in it. This particular tree was in South France and it would bloom early as if it was announcing ‘spring was coming’, Van Gogh borrowed this theme from Japanese art. One of Van Gogh’s favorite subjects was ‘blossoming branches against a blue sky’ and he had painted this subject more than once during his time in Paris. This particular artwork gives an audience insight into the artist’s world, and what he is like. The characteristics this artwork displays to an audience is joy and happiness, it gives out a sense of life and free spirit and that is exactly what Van Gogh wanted just before he died. He explains that he felt like’ he was in a cage, but to have freedom- to be a bird like the other birds’. He wanted that spirit of freedom that he displayed in his artwork. This painting gives an audience the impression that Japanese art became something of a religion to him, he observed everything around him as if it were through ‘Japanese eyes’ and in this way he noticed the tiniest details in the natural setting.


René Magritte grew up in Brussels, Belgium, which at the time was a country torn by conflict between two ethnic groups. Foreign observers gained the impression that this was a country with a character all its own, a “surrealist” character. Magritte’s Belgium background led to his sense of absurdity and most definitely his art style of Surrealism he adopted later on...

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