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Van Gough Poet Garden vs. Monet Water Lilies

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Art has been part of human lives for thousands of years. From the cave paintings to metal framework, people have gazed at arts while comparing and criticizing it. It is said that an art is representation of an artist’s lifestyle and events. Basically Artists paint on the events based on their lives. Such as Cloude Monet and Vincent Van Gough, their artwork was based on movements of Impressionism and Post Impressionism. Their interest shows outdoor environment to show effect of natural sun light or atmospheric light on day to day life scene.

Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” is the great example of outdoor paintings and Vincent Van Gogh’s “The garden of the poets” is based on two poets combining with the garden that he is referring to. Impressionist Monet was born in France while Vincent Van Gough was born in Germany. Both paintings are two dimensional and same medium Oil on Canvas is used. Water Lilies was painted in 1906 with size of 34 ? by 36 ? inches. Van Gough’s The Garden of Poets was painted in 1888 with size of 28 ? by 36 ? inches. Van Gough’s painting the garden of poets is based on two dimensions.

The subject matter is landscape by using sunlight reflects from the leaves of the trees. Vincent Van Gough describes in his painting The Garden of poets, “a corner of garden with a weeping tree, grass, round clipped cedar shrubs and an oleander bush….. There is a citron sky over everything, and also the colors have the richness and intensity of autumn…. ” by writing a letter to his brother Theo after arriving in Arles, France. When Van Gogh took a refuge in the Yellow House and he continued to paint with quality and style.

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The garden of poets include a weeping tree and oleander, cypress, shrubs and bushes are colored lime green while the sky is colored citron yellow indicating at autumn season. In Monet’s water lilies, he uses alike colors green and blue. Water is colored blue while lilies are painted green. Although it does not seem real, he uses colors laid on top of each other to clarify refraction of the light and changing shades of the colors to show depth of the pond. What really separates both paintings from each other is the hidden meaning behind them.

For example, when Van Gough painted the poets garden, he included the oleander to represent Boccaccio. Boccaccio was Van Gough’s younger friend and protage, the bush and the shrubs in the painting were for his other friends Donte and Petrarch. Weeping tree is the symbol for mourning or loss while the cypress symbolizes death or mortality. Even though Van Gogh included feelings for his friends and the poets he admired, the reason why he painted Garden of Poet’s was all because of Gauguin. In August of 1888, Van Gogh wrote a letter to Gauguin to come and work with him at Arles.

His hopes were turned into a disappointment when Gauguin wrote back replying: “with his debts mounting by the day, his south seemed less and less probable” (Thames & Hundson, p 140, 2001). Van Gogh began to think that Gauguin would never want to come to Arles thus he became more frustrated with his life. While residing at Yellow House at Arles, Van Gogh said “If what one is doing gives a glimpse into infinity, and if one sees that one’s work has its own raison d’etre and continues beyond, then one works more serenely” ( Thames & Hudson, p 142, 2001).

Van Gogh had a suspicion that Gauguin had postponed his trip to Arles was because of debt or the fact the he hated Arles but rather he had another goal in mind. With this suspicion, Van Gogh began painting the Garden of Poets. He represented his disappointment regarding Gauguin letter by weeping tree along with cypress. Van Gough painted based on his feelings while Monet painted random series of Water Lilies. Basically Monet did not have any hidden meanings behind Water Lilies.

After acquiring ownership in Giverny, Monet decided to build Japanease Style Bridge over a pond and had the idea of painting water lilies where it is a random series of artwork unlike Van Gough. Another contrast between Water Lilies and The Poet’s Garden is the use of the colors. In Monet’s Water Lilies, he uses cool colors to paint water and the shadow of the skies in the water with source of sunlight and atmospheric light reflections. In Poets of Garden, green and yellow are the major colors used and the source of light is also sunlight and he uses warm colors for the skies to show the autumn season.

Autumn season represents Van Gogh’s feeling towards the painting, Sadness and loss. Monet is only interested on Impressionist movement showing the effect of sunlight on outdoor objects. He does not show any feelings or hidden meanings behind his series of Water Lilies except for wealth and ownership. He paints to represent impression of objects similar to photography. “In 1893, a few years after acquiring ownership of the property at Giverny, Monet purchased a small pond fed by the river Ru, which he embellished as a water garden.

Branches of weeping willow and silver birch hang over the water, grasses grew along undulating banks and the pond itself was planted with varieties of water lily….. ’something for amusement and for the pleasure of the eyes’, Monet said. ‘It took me some time to understand my water lilies. I planted them for pleasure, I cultivated them without thinking of painting them. ”(Judith Bumpus, p 37, 1991). Monet uses arc of the Japanease bridge as a frame to show different perspective of the pond as he observes it by changing light and weather. The water surface he draws has a reflective quality on the sea and rivers that had always intrigued him.

He paints water as a still surface, mirror-like transparent. By viewing this painting it seems like we are standing on the edge of the water, where reflection of the atmospheric light and trees are seen. The most visible difference between Water Lilies and The Poet’s Garden is that Monet uses impressionist mechanism to make his painting look like photography. Van Gogh on the other side uses more artistic formal style to finish his artwork. Both impressionist and post impressionist have similar point of view to describe their art work. By comparing two paintings the elements of arts are almost same.

Both artists are using sun light as a light source. Van Gogh uses landscape as a subject matter and warm colors to show skies of autumn which he compares with his yellow house and long linear green grass. Monet uses cool colors to show water and light colors to show reflection. The mass of the water lilies are light, the trees in Van Gogh’s painting are heavy. The weight on the water lilies is not equally balanced; more water lilies are shown on the upper right corner than lower left corner. Lines are organic, curved, thin and soft edged in water lilies. In the Garden of Poets, lines are organic curved, soft edged and light.

The shapes are organic, actual, simple and regular in both paintings. The tones of colors are subtle, colors of paintings are realistic and both secondary and tertiary colors are used. The values of lightness are mid-range, high contrast value in Garden of Poets and chiaroscuro in water lilies are seen by viewing in atmospheric light. Monet uses colors in impressionist perspective to show shadow of the clouds. “his easel and canvases at the water’s edge he could study the play of natural colours and textures among the floating plants and among the fall and forth of overhanging trees….

Monet’s continuing concern with colour harmonies prompted as strongly emotive response. Foliage and flowers, seen in magical, silvery light, are transformed in glittering greens, blues, pinks and yellows. ” (Bumpus, p 37, 1991) In water lilies, Monet plays with colors to show the effect of light, shadows and to show depth of the pond. He uses cool colors such as blue and pink Mass of the objects seem real, actual and light weight in water lilies, both paintings are two dimensional.

The space is shallow in both paintings, Monet and Van Gogh are not interested in showing illusion in these paintings but they are painted in atmospheric and aerial perspective. Both artists use colors to show the effect of the seasons. Monet uses day light in high contrasting values. “he paints before the shadows disappear” according to A day in the country that Monet paints by using timing and he actually uses different day times to show the difference between lightness and darkness. Both painters are not interested in showing illusions. Monet shows the realistic point of view, Van Gogh on the other side uses artistic point of view. It becomes clear that the garden was really dedicated to Paul Gaugin, whose arrival he awaited and whom he expected to be ‘the new local poet’. In his imagination this perfectly ordinary garden has been endowed with intensely personal and symbolic meaning. ” (Bupmpus, p 39, 1991) Van Gogh shows personal intensity for Gauguin’s arrival. Monet on the other side uses his techniques to show impressionism, he uses paintings in circles and squares to try out different shadings of colors to show dusk and dawn timings in light to dark lights in his water lilies.

Water Lilies is Monet’s experimental paintings “the subsequent twenty are much more experimental.. Only three continue the horizontal format. The others are square, circular, or vertical, suggesting monet was testing all of his options(Pls. 221-224). The vertical panels are more venturesome…… these vertical scenes are sliced down the middle by a meandering trail of sky. ” (Tucker, p 194, 1995) An art is representation of an artist’s lifestyle and events. Van Gogh painted The Garden of Poet’s with very deep passion and emotions.

This painting was all about mourning, sorrow, sadness, hopes and dreams. Van Gogh dreamed of working with Gauguin for a while and had hoped that one day he would show up to his Yellow House and work with him. Monet on the other hand was intrigued with impression with outside world and how he viewed them. Even though these two famous artists lived very different life style, they both loved art and wanted to express and share their thought with outside world. They both conveyed their message through color, shades, brushstroke and transformed a mere art into a priceless piece.

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