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Van Gogh in Comparison with Monet

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With only 13 years between the births of the two artists, we could say that Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh were born in the same period. They may have been born quite close together but both men discovered art was their vocations almost 20 years apart, which may have been why they are such different artists. Monet had a head start on Van Gogh as he was introduced to art at a very young age. Monet also had a mentor who taught him the tricks of the trade and pushed him from caricatures to landscape paintings. We know Monet was an Impressionist painter, which means he portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short broken brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour. Van Gogh was introduced to art by his uncle as he had him work for him in the international firm of picture dealers Goupil and Co. This however was only an introduction and Van Gogh did not start working on his own art until 1880 after a spell of ministry work in Belgium. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter in that he used colour and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind. I believe that having an early mentor was a great advantage to Monet’s progress and being formally educated in art, Monet made many friends who helped him develop his skills.

One friend in particular was Jongkind whom he credits as “the definitive education of my eye”. Throughout his career Monet had people around him from whom he learned and also taught, people like Renoir, Sisely and Bazille. These four made up the nucleus of the impressionist movement with their innovative style and devotion to art. I have the utmost respect for Van Gogh as an artist and as a person. Upon reading his biography, I found out more about his early career where it mentions his devotion to help his fellow man and how deeply affected he was by his surroundings. Even though Van Gogh had never formally been taught he was able to create his own style of art, a style that not many people have been able to replicate to this day. Both men have a plethora of outstanding work and to compare it makes for quite a challenge. In saying that there are some similarities, such as how light and atmosphere has played such a big part in their work. Monet was primarily interested in how light affected subjects, so he painted the same subject many times under different lighting conditions and he mostly painted outside to get a feel for the atmosphere. Van Gogh was also interested in how light affected certain subjects but he portrayed this use of vibrant and symbolic colour.

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