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