Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vincent van Gogh, Stevedores in Arles

Vincent van Gogh, Stevedores in Arles, 1888

Another day, another sunset.  I've posted quite a few now and each one is a masterpiece in its own right.  Today we turn to Van Gogh (1853-1890) and this magnificent scene of dockworkers (stevedores) at sunset.  Van Gogh's command of color is perhaps considered his greatest gift, on fine display in this work.  The sky is alight with this vibrant orange that flows into a warm, pale green, an unusual choice for sky but one that feels completely natural.  The sunset over Arles casts the dockworkers in silhouette as they continue to labor through the end of the day.  Van Gogh's brushwork in this painting is also a bit different from most of his work; we can discern many horizontal strokes that come together to form this magnificent whole.  In this canvas we can sense the intensity of the sunset and the toil of these men, and in Van Gogh's ecstatic rendering each feels just as beautiful and important.

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