Intro to Vincent van Gogh/Paul Gauguin: Dueling Portraits

Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin had similar artistic visions, yet they could not be more different temperamentally. When the two of them spent 9 weeks painting together at van Gogh’s house in Arles, they were constantly at each other’s throats. The root images for this animation are portraits van Gogh and Gauguin did of each other. How each depicted the other proved revealing. Van Gogh portrayed Gauguin looking away into the distance, painfully alienated. This captured Gauguin, who felt stifled by European society and, upon leaving Ares, would ultimately find solace painting and living in Tahiti, connecting with its people emotionally/spiritually. Gauguin portrayed van Gogh facing toward him painting sunflowers, entirely lost in the process of creating art. This most certainly captured van Gogh, who was driven to paint by a fiercely intense inner vision. Both Gauguin and van Gogh practiced a form of primitivism. In my animation the morbid image of Gauguin proves more primal than the image of van Gogh making art. However, one must remember that van Gogh painted the image of Gauguin.

Animation duration: 21.9 seconds, before looping.

Peter Schmideg

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