“how beautiful watercolour is to express atmosphere and distance,
so that characters are surrounded by air and appear as breathing”
Vincent van Gogh
Hi guys, in this cycle of articles I want to talk about my favourite painters through their works.
In this first article I am going to talk about spring, as it is seen by two painters, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.
The first picture is called “Almond Blossom”:
Van Gogh painted it as a present for his nephew. Van Gogh chose the almond because it is the symbol of new life, in fact this tree already blossoms in February, indicating the beginning of spring. But this picture has a hidden message in it, in fact the big and strong branches in the sky represent the multifaceted soul of the painter, that is trying to reach over the sky, where the idea of liberty is to be found.
Later Van Gogh painted another picture where the subject of his work is again a “group of flowers “, but in this picture we don’t find delicate flowers, but proud flowers like the irises.
A fundamental characteristic in this picture are the lively colours , most of all the dominance of blue, that for the painter is the symbol of liberty. It seems as if the irises want to get out from the canvas, to invade the surrounding space. Every iris that Van Gogh painted is unique, in fact he studied the shape and the movement of each of them.
An autobiographical element in this picture is represented by the white iris. In fact the white iris represents Van Gogh, regardless of the place where he lived and of the people (the other irises) around him.
A contemporary of Van Gogh, Claude Monet, also painted a lot of flowers in the last period of his life. And Monet, like Van Gogh, painted irises.
Monet’s irises convey to us a feeling of an unusual calm. In fact his irises seem to live in isolation, trying to overcome the opposing elements in order to stand out in the picture. Besides in the picture there are some autobiographical elements, too, like the search for “imperfect perfection”.
These three works, though different, are complementary. In fact together they outline the elements of the new artistic currents that will be an expression of the anxiety that will spread in Europe in 1800. But the two painters found in nature, especially in flowers, a positive and mutable entity that could express all the shadings of their souls.