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Comparison Essay - Van Gogh and Gauguin

             The letters of Vincent Van Gogh reveal the painter to be quite a sensitive, tortured, but loving individual. The artist's simple directness in these writings is much appreciated, not just as a window into the genius, but because of the rarity of these windows. The background regarding his age of thirty-five and the stage of his life having just moved to Arles from Paris was most informative. The healing isolation which the introduction touched upon was equally helpful, especially considering his passion for the religious. Clearing his head of theory and other personalities is highly relatable to any artist seeking to engage in their own individual voices. However, instead of dismissing these theories, he was able to delve into them healthily such as Neoimpressionism and Impressionism. His passion for color is detailed in these letters, serving as apt commentary to his color-dependent pieces. .
             Van Gogh's initial lament about the emptiness he felt and longing for purpose in his life is provocative to the sympathies of any appreciator of the arts as wells as artists themselves. His concern about art's social purpose and its theories is a sign of an artist who serves as a bridge between the technical world of the creators and the every-day semantics of the people. This understanding, or rather fascination, is expressed through his letters discussing the importance of city-dwellers live a different way of life that is mandated by manual labor. He often glorifies the beauty of peasantry in these letters. .
             In order to convey this beauty through his paintings, he speaks of his rigorous choosing of threads and the "smells" of the painting which is good for city people. He also compares his visual medium to music, specifically Wagner, which surprisingly makes sense when looking at his flowing yet distinctive pieces. In addition, he constantly looked to Japanese inspirations to convey these ideas which is bolstering to imagine Van Gogh as having a worldly perspective despite being inundated with a Parisian lifestyle for a time.

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