Perhaps it is ironic that Vincent Van Gogh struggled to make a living as an artist and never sold more than a single painting during his entire lifetime. The Red Vineyard, sold for 400 Francs only several months before his death.
Considered today to have been a genius, Vincent Van Gogh produced 900 paintings in a nine-year span between 1881 and 1890. His paintings, created with a bold brush stroke and bright luminous colors, have captured the imaginations of millions of art lovers and artists throughout the world. Several of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings include, Starry Night, Sunflowers, Irises, Poppies and the Potato Eaters.
While it is debatable that Vincent Van Gogh was born with the creative urge to paint, it is quite clear that he put his heart and soul into the process when he discovered what he believed to be his true calling in life. He approached his craft with tenacity, and worked at a feverish pace that took its toll in time and income.
The Red Vineyard
Van Gogh painted The Red Vineyard early in November 1888 on a piece of burlap. It is the coloring of this painting that immediately grabs the viewer’s attention. The sun is painted a luminous white and is the backdrop to a full red foreground. The silent vineyard harvesters in the painting are a part of the vibrating colors of red, yellow and other colors that span the range of the chromatic spectrum.
The Red Vineyard may be the best example of Van Gogh’s style and what’s considered to be his genius. Van Gogh began his art career painting in the realistic tradition of his day and embarked on a path where he realized that pure colors, simply by themselves, are capable of generating a powerful aesthetic emotion. No one really knows why, but it was during the second half of the 1880’s on the road to emotional and physical recovery that Vincent Van Gogh departed from the traditional and began painting pictures that resembled the images of real life less and less. Perhaps in his day he was viewed as a madman, while today we view Van Gogh’s works a stroke of genius.
Vincent Van Gogh was considered scandalous by the academic world of his time. He displayed a blatant disregard for reality that was nothing short of blasphemous. The Red Vineyard is a perfect example of how genius emerges to create a new way of looking at things. And it is quite often the newness of a thing that offends the traditional ways. For Vincent Van Gogh, it took his his death and years in between before the world was able to catch on to his vision.