Kids Cafe Art Lectures: Van Gogh

We’ve got about 3 weeks left in Summer Reading and I must say I’ve had fun, but I’ll be glad for the craziness to die down a bit. Kids Cafe has been packed this summer. We upped the number of meals from 15 to 25, and we probably could’ve gone up higher had we any more room. I’ve now planned about 20 art/history lectures, and have enjoyed doing them, although I am starting to run out of ideas. I have started looking up some easy ones I can thrown together with less preparation, as I average about 6-8 hrs for a full-on art lecture, not counting set-up and presentation (adds about another 1-1/2 hrs).

This particular one on Vincent Van Gogh was one of my favorite lectures because I love Van Gogh.  I have been fortunate enough to see a couple touring exhibitions with his original work, as well as getting to check out an awesome Van Gogh/Gaugin exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. He is one of my favorite artists and I always learn something knew about him when I research. This time I found some paintings I had never seen before, so got a few new wallpapers for my computers. I had planned on doing this cool Sunflowers craft, but it took so long to prep, I didn’t think it would be feasible to do during Kids Cafe. If you have a full hour or even better a day or two, it would be doable and was really cute. We ended up just doing coloring sheets of Van Gogh works, which is a bit of a cop-out I know, but was what I could get together with short notice after the original Sunflowers craft fell through.

KC – Vincent Van Gogh – March 20th

Van Gogh - The Church at Auvers, 1890

  • Biography of the Artist
    • Born in 1853 in the Netherlands
    • His father and grandfather were ministers. He was closest to his brother Theo, who worked in a gallery in Paris.
    • He worked as a teacher and missionary before deciding at age 27 to become an artist.
    • In the early part of his career, he used a lot of dark colors such as browns and greens, and the paintings subject matter tended to be rather sad or morbid.
    •  the_potato_eaters
      • Early Works: The Potato Eaters, 1885
      • woman_winding_yarn_1885
      • Early Works: Woman Winding Yarn, 1885
    • Letters to Theo and Impressionism
      • Much of what we know about Van Gogh came from the letters he wrote his brother Theo in Paris
      • One thing Theo told Vincent about was a new style of painting called Impressionism. In 1886 Vincent moved to Paris to learn from and be influenced by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro.
        • Monet
        •  Tulip-Fields-Hague-Claude-Monet-Impressionist-Landscape-Flower-Poster-Gift-Bedroom-Wall-Art-Decor-Wood-Frame.jpg_350x350
          • Tulip Fields near the Hague, 1886
        • Degas
        • Edgar Degas - Dancers in the Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass, 1882-85
          • Dancers in the Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass, 1882-85
        • Pissarro
        • Pissarro - Haymaking, Eragny, 1887
          • Haymaking, Eragny 1887
    • Living in Paris
      • It was here in Paris that he began to use brighter colors and his brushwork became more broken.
      • He was friends with artists like Paul Gauguin and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
      • He started painting portraits, including his own.
        • Self Portraits
        •  self portrait with grey felt hat
          • Self-Portait with Grey Felt Hat, 1887
          • Self portrait, 1889
          • Self-Portrait, 1889
        • Portraits
        •  Van Gogh - Portrait of Postman Joseph Roulin, 1888
          • Portrait of Postman Joseph Roulin, 1888
        • Van Gogh - The Zouave, 1888
          • The Zouave, 1888
    • Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese prints and woodcuts called ukiyo-e
      •  Residences with Plum Trees
      • Original painting Residence with plum trees at Kameido, 1857 by Utagawa Hiroshige
      • Flowering Plum Orchard
      • Flowering Plum Orchard (After Hiroshige), 1887 by Van Gogh
        • Living in Arles
          • In 1888, he moved to Arles and briefly lived with the painter Paul Gauguin.
          • During this time period, he used very thick and expressive brushstrokes which create a flowing textured pattern in his paintings. The brushstrokes add interest to the painting, but they also add energy. It is as if they give us a glimpse into the artist’s mind and the rapid movement of his thoughts and feelings.
          • A Good Example of his Expressive Brush Strokes
          • Van Gogh Olive Trees, 1889
          • Van Gogh’s Olive Trees, 1889
      • Early 1889: committed himself to a mental hospital.
        • It was here that he painted one of his most famous paintings Starry Night,1889
        • “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo.
        • Van Gogh - Starry Night, 1889
    • Other Biographical Info
      • Vincent only sold 1 painting during his lifetime.
      • Today he is considered one of the greatest and most influential artists of his time. Many of his paintings sell for millions of dollars today.
      • There are over 850 surviving paintings as well as almost 1500 watercolors and sketches of his work.
      • He was a Post-Impressionist painter and his use of color as expression really revolutionized modern art
      • Died 1890 in France, his brother Theo died six months later and was buried next to him
    • My Favorites
        • Almond Blossoms
          • Almond Blossoms, 1890 (which he painted for his baby nephew Vincent Willem, Theo’s son)
        • vincent_van_gogh_bedroom_in_arles_canvas_print_24
          • Bedroom at Arles, 1889 [I have always loved this one, ever since I first saw it with a traveling exhibition when I was about 15. It’s hard to explain, I guess it’s the simplicity of it and the colors.]
  • Activities: Van Gogh Coloring Sheets: http://www.kids-n-fun.com/Coloringpages/Vincent-van-Gogh
  • Alternative Activity: Sunflower Craft: http://www.articulategallery.com/us/blog/vincent-van-gogh-sunflowers-craft/
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