In the Museum of Fine Arts there are so many pieces of art that can be seen and admired, such as paintings, sculptures, jewelry, etc. Most of the painting and sculptures in this museum tell a story, whether it be about the story behind the work of art or just how the artist got inspired to create such a piece. Sculptures tell a story about the “person” that is sculpted whether it being a god goddess and or any historical figure in time. A painting tells a story inside an image and its meaning could have a deep impact on the viewer but it all depends on what the image is portraying. Many paintings have a significant meaning in history or anything for that matter and as Fred R. Barnard said, “A picture is worth ten thousand words”.
A painting that is in the Museum of Fine Arts at the moment that many people were fond of and were visiting it more than some of the other art work in the room was a painting named Ravine by the famous Vincent van Gogh. This painting can be found in the Impressionist Room of the Museum of Fine Arts. The painting is set in a bright room with light cascading on it from above, which captures the eye of the people in the room and draws them to take a closer look. The detail put into this work of art can be seen and acknowledged for because of its complexity it must have had in order to get the image to look the way it does. This painting depicts the Ravine exceptionally and captures its beauty perfectly. In the little sign right beside the painting is a small description of the painting and Van Gogh himself. The description states,
In the autumn of 1889, Van Gogh painted the ravine near the asylum in the southern French town of Saint. He wrote about it to his dear friend Emile Bernard. ‘Such subjects certainly have a fine melancholy, but then it is fun to work in rather wild places, where one has to dig one’s easel in between the stones? The following spring, Van Gogh sent this painting to Paris, where Gaugin saw it and wrote to him: ‘In subjects from nature you are the only one who thinks. I talked about it with your brother, and there is one that I would like to trade with you for one of mine of your choice?
With Van Gogh capturing the landscape he saw is beautiful, he depicted the details he saw at the ravine and was a way to remember the town of Saint, but also create something that can show the beauty of the moment itself. This is a breathtaking work of art. With its broad brushstroke technique and its cool, subdued colors, it makes you visualize that you are there yourself, looking at the Ravine from an eye-line level as if you are standing in the ravine itself. Even though there are works done by artists such as Renoir, Monet, and Signac in the Impressionist room as well, they do not compare to that of Van Gogh’s. Yes, his was painted in the same impressionist style but what stands out from his art work is that he used cool tones of grays and blues that give the viewer a subtler feel when looking at the painting. He decorates the gray ravine with splashes of green, blue, and white. While the charcoal like gray tones in the back catch the eye it’s the blue tones that are over it that give the painting a sense of depth and without the blue tones it would just seem dull and non-three-dimensional. The use of gray and black to outline and sketch the cuts of the ravine walls give the viewer a three-dimensional illusion of the landscape itself but without any other colors used the three-dimensional illusion would not be as effective as it is.
He outlines the movement of the water perfectly with the use of blues and whites and with Van Gogh turning his brush every once in a while, giving the rushing of the body of water a depth for other eyes to capture. The bending of the water by using “sea-green” like colors gives the viewers the illusion that the water is flowing over each other’s depths and then crashing into each side of the Ravine with splashes of light gray and white tones.
Van Gogh makes sharp black contours of jagged patterns that are also mismatched. The way he uses swirling brushstroke motions instead of straight line that intersect at various and random points. With this type of brushstroke, it creates a flowing downward motion and keeps the ravine part of both the sky and the river and makes the image a whole. In the painting you can see that he applies the paint thickly in order to give it form and bring the painting, in a way, “to life”. The brushstrokes used here was also used in one of his other famous paintings called The Starry Night. He also divides the painting into sections, with each wall making a triangle like section and the sky completing the final touches.
Something that could catch a viewer’s eye is the reddish-orange plant like structure that gives you a resemblance of seaweed and anemones. This painting also resembles a “marine” like world with the blue, white, and green colors used but also the plant like structures that are growing out of the walls of the ravine. It is the small details that show the bigger picture of the painting and with this painting the small details would have to be the brushstrokes used, the color scheme and the small red- orange plants. All these things make the painting a whole but also the illusion it gives.
For some, when viewing the image some might look at it and see it come to life but also there are some that can put themselves in the image and visualize what they see in the painting. There are so many ways you can depict this work but let’s not forget the frame the painting is placed into. The frame is made out of wood and has floral like designs carved into the wood work. The frame looks old fashioned, which depicts the time and era the painting was created in. The frame helps wrap the painting as a whole. If the frame was different and had a different structure, then the painting would look different to the viewers eye and might not capture the paintings essence.
In conclusion the artist, Vincent van Gogh, did a wonderful job at interpreting his own small details into the art work but also visualizing what was right there in front of him. Even though the ravine might not look the way it does in this painting, it gives the viewers a interpretation of how it looked to someone else. It is the small details that make the whole piece come together as one and is able to show that even if it’s just a painting, you can always find a way to put yourself in the image and visualize everything. Have an imagination of what is surrounding the ravine and so on. If you imagine it, you can see and maybe even feel the wind in the air, hear the oceans waves hitting the ravine and the overall look of the ravine itself. There are so many people that surround the painting and sometimes if you go at a good time, where there’s only a few people in that room, you are able to take a closer look at the painting and capture its true beauty. This is Ravine by Vincent van Gogh and a detailed description of the painting.
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