Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Kim & Karen 2 Soul Sisters

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ART Unit - Van Gogh; Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman, Please. Keep Still!

Van Gogh is now one of the most well-known post-Impressionist painters, although he was not widely appreciated in his lifetime. (Click here to learn more)          



Vincent Van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Zundert in the southern Netherlands, the son of a pastor. In 1869, he took his first job, working in the Hague branch of an international art dealing firm. He began to write to his younger brother Theo, a correspondence which continued for the rest of Van Gogh's life.
Van Gogh's job took him to London and Paris, but he was not interested in the work and was dismissed in 1876. He briefly became a teacher in England, and then, deeply interested in Christianity, a preacher in a mining community in southern Belgium.
In 1880, at the age of 27, he decided to become an artist. He moved around, teaching himself to draw and paint and receiving financial support from Theo. In 1886, Van Gogh joined Theo in Paris, and met many artists including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro and Gauguin, with whom he became friends. His style changed significantly under the influence of Impressionism, becoming lighter and brighter. He painted a large number of self-portraits in this period.
In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Provence in southern France, where he painted his famous series 'Sunflowers'. He invited Gauguin to join him but they soon began to quarrel and one night, Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor. Deeply remorseful he then cut off part of his own ear.
This was the first serious sign of the mental health problems that were to afflict Van Gogh for the rest of his life. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals and swung between periods of inertia, depression and incredibly concentrated artistic activity, his work reflecting the intense colours and strong light of the countryside around him.
On 27 July 1890, again suffering from depression, Van Gogh shot himself. He died two days later.

Here to the left  is Van Gogh's Real Postman Painting & a little history about it, too!
In the spring of 1888, having recently moved to the town of Arles in the south of France, Vincent van Gogh decided to make portraits of some of the natives. One of his first subjects, a postal worker named Joseph Roulin, became a deeply important friend to the lonely and troubled artist.


I really enjoy sharing with kiddos at school about Van Gogh because not only are we able to talk about his paintings, style and composition - but we get to talk about emotions! During the introduction of the Van Gogh Units, I have the students pretend to draw imaginary lines in the air. We will draw happy lines with our fingers, angry lines, scared lines - you get the picture. Lines can have the same personalities of emotions.  Just think about it - something to ponder. Communication is good. Van Gogh was a painter NOT a communicator!


I really enjoyed teaching this unit and I have found it to work with kids that I have taught from PK3 - 8th grade. Yep, we love to sing and dance in my classroom...so this art unit is always introduced with that famous song....by the Carpenters! (Case in point...remember how Karen Carpenter died....I wonder if she ever communicated her battle of anorexia to anyone? Things that make ya go HUM....) Weird how when you speak of Van Gogh...other sad stories come to surface! That is why talking & blogging are good people - good for the soul!       


I just wanted to do a post to make and impression and give you a few thoughts to ponder on a really talented POST IMPRESSIONIST Painter..(get it? hee hee) The students had a great time learning about Van Gogh- we used oil pastels, construction paper and pencils to create this lesson!


I leave you with this Van Gogh Quote: "If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." .... xox 1969

1 comment:

  1. i was flipping channels the other day...and something got my attention...Turner Classic Movies had a movie about Van Gogh...made in 1956...movie is called Lust for Life...Kirk Douglas is Van Gogh...and Anthony Quinn is Paul Gaugin...2 bangs for your buck...It was a good movie...I think high school art students would get it...Elementary...hmmm...not so much.

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