8/11/2016-contextual studies


Portrait of Joseph Roulin     1889

Vincent van Gogh
(Dutch, 1853–1890)

. Oil on canvas


25 3/8 x 21 3/4″ (64.4 x 55.2 cm)

The dark tone of the entire work, dark green and dark blue is the main color. The middle of the painting is a person surrounded by flowers.

Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo of his excitement about “the modern portrait,” a picture that renders character not by the imitation of the sitter’s appearance but through the independent, vivid life of color. Van Gogh’s subject in this painting, Joseph Roulin, worked for a post office in the French town of Arles. He was not a letter carrier but rather held a higher position as an official sorting mail at the train station. Van Gogh and Roulin lived on the same street and became close friends. Van Gogh painted many portraits of Roulin. This picture, which van Gogh boasted of having completed quickly, in a single session, was painted after Roulin got a better-paying job and left Arles. Some scholars think that this portrait was not painted from life but rather from memory or from previous portraits.



Portrait of Auguste Renoir (Portrait de Renoir)

Pierre Bonnard

(c. 1914) (c. 1916)

plate: 10 1/8 x 7 13/16″ (25.7 x 19.8 cm); sheet: 12 13/16 x 9 7/8″ (32.5 x 25.1 cm)

pencil drawing



compare two drawings

The two paintings are similar in the same painting with a bearded middle-aged man, painting only draw the man’s upper body. Bearded parts are characterized by dense lines.

The first difference is that the first one is used in a painting with a pencil and the other one is oil painting, not the same way, one is more detailed characterization of character and image, the other is the use of lines to express the image of the characters.

From their performance techniques can be seen in different times, style and painting is a lot of different places. But the two paintings are painted the same as some of the details of the human face features.

The first picture of the time in the Netherlands, the impressionist period of the picture, so the paintings are based on the impression that the description, the basic will not be realistic and portrayed the scene, so there will be different backgrounds.

The abstract art of Picasso, popular in 1914, did not stand out as a clear-cut realism, but expressed the details of the mission without any religious significance, simply expressing a mood and an idea.

From these two pictures, I understand one of the most obvious reason is that no matter what a painting, it will represent an era of fashion trends and social background at the time. Each era will have a style of mutual correspondence, would like to know an era of development, from some works of art can be well studied.



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