Van Gogh's Potato Eaters and Starry Night

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Van Gogh’s, Potato Eaters and Starry Night illustrate his transition from realism to post-impressionism. Vincent Van Gogh never gave up his style and insight in his early work compared to his later work. I will discuss the comparison of the Potato Eaters and Starry Night and even though there are obvious differences, the core of his passion and eccentricities can be seen. Furthermore, in the discussion of comparing and contrasting the two pieces, it will include his influences, color palette, humanitarian attributes and emotional expressionism. Jean Francois Millet, who was a social realist painter who inspired Van Gogh, and he studied at the Barbizon School. He painted rural life to show the poverty stricken people, capturing the lives of peasants at work. Making a statement on what is taking place in the world. Communicating through art to expose the poor conditions and physical hardships that hard working people are enduring. It is an invitation, to look into the working class environment, which is gritty, real and true. This stirred up controversy, because of its honest approach. Van Gogh felt inspired by this depiction of human that gave a sentimental quality and began to draw replicas of Millet’s work, he held his work in the highest regard, even to the point of holiness. This marked the beginning of his inspiration to form a personal, expressive, and religious stance on his art values and style. He has found his process and content that will be apparent in his future work. The Potato Eaters is Van Gogh’s realist style where he thought of “peasants to be closer to nature than other people”. This began his religious view to capture life’s divinity. It was his first painting, which is a scene of a family at the kitchen table eating supper. His view on the scene was that these people worked all day, then come home to enjoy dinner with the same hard working hands that helped to make the dish, therefore, earning them an honest, genuine meal. Van Gogh had sympathy for the peasants and furthered his passion for humanity. He studied them non-stop to explore their world. The color palette he chose was dark and crudely painted on, almost grungy. It’s a low-lit kitchen area, with the look and feel of exhaustion that the dark color palette engages the viewer to feel what is going on. Also, the color that is the weavers weave in the cloth and different fabrics have various colors, some broken colors, the grays have the most vibrant colors that balance each other out into a harmonious palette from a distance.

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