Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers
A Brief Understanding of the Sunflower Paintings.
There are pieces of artwork drifting through galleries around the world that
have become nearly synonymous with the artists name and techniques. The various
paintings of Sunflowers and Vincent van Gogh are a perfect example of this. Not
only can one make a mental connection between the artists name and painting but
also between the artist and their influence on the development of art through
these paintings. Vincent van Gogh's Sunflower paintings have been duplicated
many times by various artists (although never reaching the vivacity and
intensity of Van Gogh's) and displayed everywhere; from households to art expos.
Upon looking at these paintings one begins to notice aspects that seem to flow
from one piece to another. The colors are vibrant and express emotions typically
associated with the life of sunflowers: bright yellows of the full bloom to arid
browns of wilting and death; all of the stages woven through these polar
opposites are presented. Perhaps this very technique is what draws one into the
painting; the fulfillment of seeing all angles of the spectrum of life and in
turn reaching a deeper understanding of how all living things are tied together.
There are many pieces within this series of paintings (each is clearly
identifiable as a Van Gogh work) in which there are only minor differences that
separate them. The overall layout of the painting along with positioning of the
actual sunflowers usually remains the same in the similar paintings. Below you
can see highlighted areas of difference between two similar sunflower paintings.
;To the left you can see two sunflower paintings of the series under the same
title; however, these two pieces have some minor differences.
- 1. ; There are differences in petal structure on a few of the flowers. Located
in bubble number one you can see how the second piece has more petal "bulk" and
does not follow the sweeping "V" motion as is seen in the first piece.
- 2. ; The center "eye" of the flower contains different colors. In the first
example the center is filled with a greenish yellow, while in the second piece
the center is filled with black.
- 3. ; This is also the case for bubble number three. The leafy structure is yellow
in the first piece and resides as light brown in the second piece.
- 4. ; The leaf located in bubble number four is nearly identical in both pieces;
however in the first piece it is overlapped by the large drooping flower and is
green in color. In the second piece there is a small but clear gap between the
drooping flower and the leaf, and the leaf is black in color.
Although Van Gogh's sunflower paintings are very similar in many aspects, each
stands out as its own unique work of art. Van Gogh began painting sunflowers
after he left Holland for France in pursuit of creating an artistic community.
The firsts were created to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin's bedroom. The
majority of Van Gogh's sunflowers in vases were created in Arles, France during
1888-1889. Van Gogh did create some sunflower paintings prior to this time
though in Paris, France around the time of 1887. This series consists of
sunflower clippings verses sunflowers in vases. You can see an example of this
series to the right.
"These series of paintings were made possible by the innovations in manufactured
pigments in the 19th Century. Without the vibrancy of the new colors, such as
chrome yellow, Van Gogh may never have achieved the intensity of Sunflowers."
Regardless, Van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers have altered mankind's
perspective of art and life. These paintings captivate the mind and leave you
astounded in their simplistic beauty. The flowing wilted steams and the burst of
lovely yellow draws ones attention around the painting, without disrupting the
balance of the piece. These paintings are often duplicated but never reach the
pure power of Van Gogh's.
Feel free to click on any of the sunflower paintings on this page to receive an
enlarged view. Below you can look around through various other information we
have listed about sunflowers. Or download wallpapers, icons, and other things
for you to use.
The Vincent van Gogh Gallery's Sunflower Resource:
Find out more about Van Gogh Flowers