Vincent Van Gogh The Potato Eaters
Vincent van Gogh, an artist of the mid-19th century, created masterpieces that are still appreciated today by art lovers around the world. His paintings are much sought after, but most are privately owned or on display in world-famous museums. The simplicity of life on which he focused his work is never more apparent than in his masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, completed in 1885.
One of Vincent van Gogh's early works, the painting consists of only five figures seated around a table in an humble abode. They appear to be poverty-stricken farmers enjoying a meal of only potatoes and coffee. However, it is the emotion that the master artist captured in the faces of the three women and one man that leave the art lover with an appreciation of Van Gogh's early talent. The fifth figure, that of a young girl, is seen only from the back. The Potato Eaters is considered the first of Van Gogh's masterpieces, and rightfully so. The peasant life of this group depicts life's hard times, but the emotion that is caught on their faces leaves you with the ability to imagine the conversation being carried on among them.
The interpretation of what Van Gogh was intending is made clear as you look at the humble room where the group is seated. There are only four chairs at this small table, which causes the child to be left standing. The large platter of potatoes indicates there was plenty of them to be had, and the coffeepot beside the table indicates that there may be more waiting to be served. You wonder if this group is a family. With only one man, he appears to be in a serious mood, and probably the head of this household. The woman next to him appears to have great admiration in her eyes, possible listening to his every word. The woman in the middle is offering a potato to the third woman, who is serving the coffee. The looks they depict are quite different, indicating totally different moods. They all eat from the same platter. Their hands are worn and tired, possibly after a long day's work.
There are four cups being served on the table, which causes you to wonder whether the child is eating with the rest of the group. Dressed in long sleeves, caps, and wraps, the weather could be cold. The oil lamp hanging above the table is the only light holding back the darkness outside. The walls are decorated meagerly, indicating possessions were few. A picture hanging on the wall is accompanied by little else besides basic necessities. Vincent van Gogh prepared early drafts of The Potato Eaters, having art dealers examine them in hopes that the painting would be considered for display. However, it was not as successful as he had planned. Today, art lovers worldwide consider it his first masterpiece.
Vincent van Gogh committed suicide in 1890, and sadly, never saw the masterpiece he had created only five years earlier taken to great heights of success where it rightfully belongs.
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