The Red Vineyard - Vincent Van Gogh
Kuadros pays homage to this fantastic painting that was left to us as a legacy of the great master Vicent Van Gogh.
The artist once wrote: Art expresses humanity's deep relationship with the world.
It was the same genius who suffered from mental illness, including depressive and psychotic episodes, with possible bipolar disorder.
That today he is considered one of the most wonderful and beloved artists of all time, is only a partial anecdote of his universe.
His talent was so impressive as a painter that he managed to significantly change the course of modern art. He never received recognition in his life and committed suicide at the age of 37 thinking that he was a failure, due to his poor mental health, but despite that, his art transcended for a lifetime.
In his last years and while living in Arles, in the south of France (1888), he managed to produce some wonderful art, and while it reflected his ongoing mental conflicts, it undoubtedly also offered a very different way of representing the world.
He not only painted, but also wrote titles such as: “In order to act well in this world, men must give up all selfish goals... Man is not on this earth just to be happy; he's there to be honest, he's there to achieve great things for humanity", all this at just 22 years old. Art historian Herbert Read considered this commitment to being honest as an unbreakable rule in his life.
His genius managed to reach, or discover, a mode of self-expression. His impulse was always oriented towards seeking the strength of form, the purity of colour, a new contact with reality. It is a set of traits and feelings that make up the rare vitality of his art.
It is not the language of painters, but the language of nature that one must listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for the paintings.
His bold use of color and expressive brushwork were defining components of his communication with the world. But it was that strange feeling that drew him to everyday life, to ordinary people, that may explain why his art is so captivating.
Without a doubt, wine was very important for Vincent in his life, since it was like his dynamizer in his arduous work rhythm. According to an excerpt from a letter suggesting that he drank too much: “Every day I take the remedy that the incomparable Dickens prescribes against suicide. It consists of a glass of wine, a piece of bread with cheese and a tobacco pipe”.
This passion for wine may also have influenced this, one of his best works, El Viñedo Rojo .
A special legend of Vincent Van Gogh, makes this painting a legendary painting. This painting forms the story of the only sale that Van Gogh made in his entire life.
The story as such is true, what is not real is the claim that it was only one. The truth is that Van Gogh sold at least two paintings, in addition to some drawings.
That doesn't change anything about his life: "What matters is that he sold very little," says curator Richard Kendall, who wrote the main catalog essay for the successful "Van Gogh's Van Goghs" exhibition shown a few years ago at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The origin of this magnificent work begins with a simple comment that the artist makes in a letter to his friend, the painter Eugene Boch, about his plans to paint The Red Vineyard :
"Ah, well, I have to go to work at the vineyard, near Montmajour." Everything is purple-yellow-green under the blue sky, a beautiful pattern of colors. "
Arles, the French city that served as inspiration for Van Gogh, was where he worked intensely, painted most of his most beautiful works and wrote his clearest and deepest pages.
But there was a place that captivated Van Gogh's soul, this place was a vineyard whose colors changed to autumnal reds and yellows depending on the time. Van Gogh decided to capture this place, and in the painting he manages to capture these vibrant colors and also reproduces the distinctive light of the Provençal afternoon sun, shining on the river and radiating the resplendent landscape, with a majestic technique.
Bright rays illuminate workers hunched over picking ripe grapes, which seem to blend into the vineyard. All seem to actively participate in the harvest in a direct relationship with the land that reflects the rhythms of agricultural work.
On October 23, 1888, the painter Gauguin , after many invitations made long before, agrees to go to Arles to the Yellow House to live with Van Gogh and spend some time there.
In November of that same year they dedicated themselves to drinking and working together. When the weather was not favorable and they joked that Gauguin had brought the rain, they painted from memory, or from tête. After a walk one Sunday night, when they had been living together for 13 days, Vincent began to paint The Red Vineyard .
Van Gogh is known as a painter who always used the technique of painting what was in front of him, Vincent stated: "I always do my work in one place". A curious fact, because this painting The Red Vineyard was painted entirely from memory.
In a paragraph of a letter that the painter Gauguin wrote to Van Gogh's brother, Theo, he says: "I have made a memory image of a poor wretch really haunted in the middle of a red vineyard, and your brother, who is very generous, think it's good."
In November Van Gogh decides to also write to his brother Theo and tells him about a painting by Gauguin, which he had painted from memory, and it was about some women in a vineyard, and also that he was painting his own vineyard: "A red vineyard, all red like red wine. In the distance it turned yellow, and then a green sky with the sun, the land after the violet rain, shining here and there where it caught the reflection of the setting sun."
It is very evident that this pair of painters during this time worked closely together and even shared the same rough silicon canvas that Gauguin had brought from home. The measurements of the red vineyard are 75 by 93 centimeters, a standard model, used many times before by the artist in his other paintings.
In the painting Van Gogh shows us: very rustic viticultural practices: a flat, north-facing vineyard, planted with vast gobelet-shaped vines in the form of poles; horse-drawn carts; wooden baskets; hand picked; and women harvesters.
The days seemed short and Van Gogh had less time to capture this moment. This image must represent, a day in the life of the painter, one of those days when Van Gogh worked outdoors during the early afternoon, while the sunlight reflected on the river and ran down the side of the river. vineyard.
The yellow sky is a novelty in Van Gogh's landscapes of Arles, as he almost always painted them bright blue. In The Red Vineyard the colors that dominate are red and yellow, in this painting we can see how Vincent is able to ignore the established laws of the contrasting color theory. Also, the influence of Impressionism cannot be denied when you use the pure color or individual brushstrokes of Pointillism.
We can also appreciate the well-known technique of Van Gogh's impasto, in huge stained drops of still wet paint. The unsigned canvas indicates the state of uncertainty that was occurring at the time.
At the request of Van Gogh, Theo van Gogh his brother, dispatches six paintings to Brussels, with the aim of exhibiting them, in an exhibition of a group of painters called XX or Vingtistes, in whose group Cezanne was also.
Anna Boch bought " The Red Vineyard " for 400 Francs. She herself was a painter and the sister of the poet Eugene Boch, a friend of Van Gogh. Eugene visited Van Gogh in Arles in 1888 and Van Gogh painted his portrait. Later, the painting was acquired by Sergei Shchukin, a Russian collector, nationalized by the Bolsheviks and later passed to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Van Gogh had a hard time relating to society, and we spoke from his own family to friends, he was a very tormented being, and he fought to keep his place in the world. His talent was not recognized at the time and was unknown throughout his life.
That is why El Viñedo Rojo represents so much for us, the only painting he sold, one of his most expressive, most powerful paintings, which gives us a pleasing aesthetic experience for our eyes and mind. This work is so impressive, that it is able to make people find life and reconnect with the natural world.
"I want to get to the point where people say about my work, that man feels deeply and that man feels subtly."
The famous art critic and writer John Berger wrote these lines about Van Gogh: "For him, the act of drawing or painting was a way of discovering and demonstrating why he loved what he was looking at so intensely."