Van Gogh and Japanese Art, Part 2

Oiran (The Courtesan) Painted in the summer and autumn of 1887, Oiran, also known as The Courtesan, is an image of a Japanese woman copied by Van Gogh from a print by Keisai Eisen which was on the cover of the May 1886 Paris Illustré, a magazine that featured an article about Japan.  Van Gogh’s copy differs from the original in several significant ways. Van Gogh used transparent paper and traced the woman from the cover of the magazine and then created a grid over her so that he could later enlarge and transfer the image to a canvas.  The motifs around the woman, the water landscape, bamboo canes, water …..

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Van Gogh and Japanese Art, Part 1

The Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige) & Flowering Plum Tree (after Hiroshige) In the years following the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, Japanese isolation ended and large numbers of Japanese artifacts made their way into Europe. The 1867 World’s Fair, Paris Exposition Universelle, had a display of Japanese art that wooed the crowds and was the first exposure many Westerners had to the Japanese style. The Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Monet, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin were all inspired by Japanese woodblock prints. It is believed that Van Gogh was first exposed to Japanese prints in Antwerp in 1885. He bought a number of Japanese prints to decorate …..

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Van Gogh’s Painting Technique: Impasto

Impasto is a painting term that refers to the use of thickly textured, undiluted, paint that appears almost three-dimensional on the canvas.  When an artist uses the impasto technique they usually leave visible brush strokes on the finished painting.  They apply the undiluted color to the canvas, frequently with a palette knife, and mix colors on the canvas to attain the desired color.  When the painting is viewed from the side the paint is seen sticking out from the canvas in globs. The appearance of an impasto painting is greatly impacted by the lighting in the room.  Due to the raised surface on the canvas, light is reflected and shadows …..

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