Period & Style
From 29 September 2012 to 25 April 2013, the Van Gogh Museum presents Vincent. The Van Gogh Museum in the Hermitage Amsterdam, focusing on Van Gogh's personal themes. Van Gogh was passionate and unconventional, constantly pursuing new goals. Sometimes he focused on elements of craft, such as technique or style, and sometimes on certain genres, such as portraits or landscapes. He developed his skills through study and experiment and by exploring themes of his own choosing, such as peasant life, portraits, self-portraits, colour, Japanese influences and nature.
This video series explores Van Gogh's personal themes with curator of paintings Leo Jansen as your guide.
Part 6: The modern portrait
In Auvers, Van Gogh wrote, ‘What I’m most passionate about, much much more than all the rest in my profession – is the portrait, the modern portrait.’ His portraits strive to express the spirit of his age and are executed in his uniquely expressive style. Early in his career, Van Gogh was mainly interested in how to depict people’s heads, as we can see in the many studies of heads that he made. Slowly but surely, his ideas about portraiture changed. In Arles, he wanted to paint ‘modern portraits’ that did justice to the temperament of the model. Examples include The Zouave (1888) and Portrait of Camille Roulin (1888).