Cycles of paintings by Van Gogh
The famous Dutch artist painted two series of canvases dedicated to sunflowers. The first, Parisian cycle depicts lying and already wilting flowers. The second, a larger scale, was painted in Arles and contains images of sunflowers standing in a vase. Van Gogh is believed to have written this cycle to decorate the house for the arrival of Gauguin, a former artist close friend. The Arles series is distinguished, mostly, only by the backgrounds used. The paintings are painted in a manner characteristic of Van Gogh – they use sharp and large strokes, simplified silhouettes and clean, bright paints. When working, the artist was guided by Vermeer’s style, which used a combination of azure background and pale yellow paints. The
moment Van Gogh painted one of the paintings was captured by Gauguin on the canvas “Van Gogh paints sunflowers”.
“ Sunflowers” by Claude Monet This painting
was created in 1881. It depicts a small vase and a huge bright bouquet of sunflowers. The rear background is blurred and the viewer’s attention remains chained to the colors. Monet painted the painting with sloppy wavy smears giving the impression of dynamics – heads of golden flowers as if swaying in the wind. Being the founder of Impressionism, the artist applied in writing the canvas all the postulates characteristic of future fans of this current – airiness, lightness, brightness of colors, but a large realism. Monet made up a picture not of clear lines, but of bright light spots, combinations of colors and sharp smears that kind of conveyed the movement of air.
Egon Schiele’s “Faded Sunflowers”
While most artists associated sunflowers with sun, life and joy, Egon Schiele created an unusual painting, “Faded Sunflowers.” The expressionist painter created the works in a characteristically gloomy manner, using bleak paints, caricature lines and clear shapes. The “wilted sunflowers” have a strict Gothic sound, the flowers themselves fusing in colour with leaves and ground. There is no clear composition in the painting – it can be seen that the sunflower bush extends beyond the canvas above and below.
Schiele’s painting was long considered missing during World War II, however it was found and sold at auction.
The artwork creates an unsettling mood – even the sky and sun have bleak paints not in common with reality. As a fan of Expressionism, Schiele attached importance not so much to the realism of the image but to his own mood and emotions that encompassed him when writing the painting.