Vincent van Gogh: The Potato Eaters
A Brief Understanding of The Potato Eaters Painting.
The Potato Eaters,
in 1885, is considered by many to be Van Gogh's first great work of art. At
time of its creation, Van Gogh had only recently started painting and had not
mastered the techniques that would later make him famous. This could attribute
the interesting look of the piece as well as the overall feeling produced from
Van Gogh wished to create his first masterpiece that could boost his
as a developed artist; his goal was to paint human figures that did not appear
be awkward, but rather existing naturally. Portraying the figures in a dark
with light from an oil lamp, however, proved to be a bit too extreme for his
acquired artistic skills. The outcome of all of these factors, in turn, made
painting more appreciated in the art community then if Van Gogh had succeeded
his original task.
The painting that was completed consisted of 5 figures sitting around a square
eating potatoes; four of them are females and one male. Although the piece is
in darkness, the mixed emotions residing in the faces of the occupants shine
brightly. These figures are so intense that one can nearly hear the
being spoken around the table. Perhaps this vibrancy layered with the darkness
what draws one closer to examine the smaller details of the painting. These
include but are not limited to:
- The rafter boards in the back of the piece.
- The soft gentle lines forming a window in the darkness.
- The picture frame hung on a darkened wall.
- The large platter of potatoes, and the boney fingers stretched out to obtain
- The woman pouring a brew similar to coffee.
- The large rectangular column behind the table that seems to hold the building
- The weathered edges of the table.
These subtle aspects
the illusion that the building is an actual residence for the five figures.
portrayal of ordinary peasant life did not come in a burst of creativity; Van
had planned out the painting of The Potato Eaters far in advance, and
inspiration to create a multiple figure painting as far back as 1883. After
various sketches and trial paintings of the piece, Van Gogh sent reversed
prints to two art dealers of the time and one of his fellow colleagues, while
planning to create a final draft of the sketch in paint. Van Gogh soon
a sense of confidence that his finished painting would become an accurate
of what he saw it as. Gogh began to advertise his finished painting before he
even begun it.
Never the less The Potato Eaters failed to become the painting he had
his mind to. It was not successful in his life time, nor was it displayed in
as Gogh had requested. Today the piece has reached great heights in the
community as well as being considered his first masterpiece, which is what he
intended it to be.
The Vincent van Gogh Gallery's Potato Eaters Resource:
Potato Eater Downloads:
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