Was Van Gogh a script?
Was Van Gogh a script?
One of the main criteria for unmasking a fake painting is to analyze the style of the painting.
You can find and simulate the colors, the canvas, the tints in a way that is practically indistinguishable from an original, but the style is difficult to repeat.
The touch, the brushstroke, the gesture, especially in modern paintings, remains personal. As if it were a fingerprint.
Van Gogh's style
And we have the opportunity to talk about style, of personal imprint, while observing a painting by Vincent van Gogh: "The rest after the harvest" (or "The siesta", Mexican style, in other sources).
In this painting, and he is not the only one, van Gogh “copied” the subject from another painter whom he considered his “teacher” and his constant source of inspiration: Jean-François Millet.
We know that Vincent had tried the path of preaching, he felt close to all those people for whom work is hard daily practice and often does not even lead out of misery. Having failed this idea, as well as that of an art dealer assistant, he brought this attention to painting when, at the age of thirty, he decided that being an artist would be his only path.
Therefore, he could not fail to be attracted to the painting of the peasant Millet who, for similar reasons, devoted himself to these subjects, wanting to give them equal dignity with other pictorial themes.
Often, therefore, van Gogh drew inspiration from Millet's paintings, indeed… he copied them.
In this case, van Gogh found himself in front of a prototype for engraving and the image is mirrored, upside down.
Vincent takes exactly the scene painted by Millet in detail: the position of the reclining couple, size and spaces of the sheaves of wheat, the cart at the back, even the two sickles resting there alongside.
But where in Millet the colors and brushstrokes are soft, faded to inspire an epic and religious sense of the scene, life explodes through van Gogh.
Van Gogh is already in Saint Remy, in hospital, in a winter month, but the colors are pure summer. Yellow illuminates the whole picture and the color of the clothes is replaced with light blue and complementary blue. Faces and what is pink in Millet to get closer to reality in Vincent become a pale green, to stay in theme with the chromatic unity of the whole picture.
And the sky? It cannot be that pale pinkish gray, very likely in reality: for Vincent the sky is blue. A beautiful uniform blue in contrast and complement the sunny yellow.
Millet's delicate painting, pervaded by the measured and rational sentiment of his poetics, becomes pure, irrepressible and engaging emotion in the hands of the Dutch genius.
Because Vincent van Gogh has no other places to exist: immersed in the pure life that also fills his inimitable paintings.
For those who want it, there is the video on the YouTube channel @pitteikon.
Andrea Giuseppe Fadini