Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed great innovation in terms of art. During these centuries not only did the nature of art change considerably, but artists of extreme talent also emerged. Vincent Van Gogh is perhaps the most renowned artist of the 19th century and is widely credited for implementing and perfecting a style known as impressionism (Callow 9). While impressionism was largely a 19th century mode of expression, the 20th century would witness many new forms of art. One of the most prominent originators of 20th century art was Pablo Picasso. Picasso advanced a style known as cubism. This essay examines both Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso and the contributions they made to the field art.
Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherland in 1853 (McQuillan 4). While a strong amount of information is known about Van Gogh, the most prominent sources of biographical information on the artist comes from letters between him and his younger brother Theo who sold much of his art. While Van Gogh would ultimately become one of the most highly regarded artists of the 19th century, he would spend most of life in obscurity. Art scholars recognize that “Van Gogh’s greatest art productions emerged after his move to Paris in 1886” (Sweetman 98). During this period Van Gogh began to produce works in his now seminal impressionistic style. After his time in Paris, Van Gogh would move to Arles in 1888 (McQuillan 50). It was here that he produced such seminal works as ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone’ and ‘Bedroom in Arles’. Suffering from bouts of illness and depression throughout his life, Van Gogh would commit suicide in 1890 by a gunshot to the chest (McQuillan 79).
While Vincent Van Gogh is perhaps the most seminal artist of the 19th century, Pablo Picasso is arguably the most renowned artist of the 20th century. Picasso was born in 1888 in Spain (Baker 11). Picasso first visited Paris in 1900 and would later move to the city and establish his artistic legacy. Picasso’s artistic production can be divided into a number of periods. Picasso’s formative periods are referred to as the Blue and Rose Periods where Picasso heavily implemented these color forms. The period that followed this is referred to as the cubist period and is regarded as Picasso’s most formative period of artistic production. During this period “Picasso would experiment with artistic form as a means of capturing new modes of human perception” (Baker 76). Among Picasso’s cubist works include ‘Guernica’ and ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. Picasso would continue producing a variety of works until his death in France in 1973 (Cirlot 321).
In conclusion, this essay has examined the artists Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. In this context of understanding, it’s revealed that Van Gogh is renowned for his work in the impressionist genre, while Picasso is renowned for his work in cubism. In this context of understanding, it’s demonstrated that these artists both worked in Paris, France and may represent the premiere artists of their respective centuries.
Baker, John. Picasso. Pantheon Books. New York: Prentice Hall 1989.
Callow, Philip. Vincent van Gogh: A Life. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1990.
Cirlot, Juan Eduardo. Picasso, birth of a genius. New York and Washington: Praeger. 1972
McQuillan, Melissa. Van Gogh. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989.
Sweetman, David. Van Gogh: His Life and His Art. New York: Touchstone. 1990.