Happy birthday Vincent van Gogh! Born #onthisday
in 1853. Van Gogh is today one of the most popular of the Post-Impressionist painters, although he was not widely appreciated during his lifetime. He is now famed for the great vitality of his works which are characterised by expressive and emotive use of brilliant colour and energetic application of impastoed paint.
This is one of four paintings of sunflowers dating from August and September 1888. Van Gogh intended to decorate the artist Paul Gauguin's room with these paintings in the so-called Yellow House that he rented in Arles in the South of France. He and Gauguin worked there together between October and December 1888.
Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in August 1888, "I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I'm at is the painting of some sunflowers. If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now on the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 flowers ... it gives a singular effect." Come and visit the National Gallery to see this painting, and more works by Vincent van Gogh.
Detail from Vincent van Gogh, 'Sunflowers', 1888 © The National Gallery, London.
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