General Art Blog Articles

Vincent Van Gogh and Yellow

Vincent Van Gogh and Yellow

… by Giselle

Vincent (1853 – 1890), his art, personality and mental health have been discussed and written about forever.
He probably is one of the most well known Artists, and his paintings are widely admired and easily recognized, particularly his trademarks of intense colored dashes and swirls.

But, he had another trademark, his love for the color yellow. Some people argue that it may have something to do with a possible mental disorder or even the medication he took for his epileptic condition. They may be right, however the reason could be much simpler, he may have had a need for the color yellow.

This is easily explained; yellow represents the sun and hope, some people crave colors like others crave food. It may be that he subconsciously needed the energy of the sun and feeling of hope and that is what he represented in his paintings with using strong yellows.

I wonder if it was a coincident that his most prolific time was when he was living in the Yellow House in Arles in 1888. It was also the time for him of hope and happiness, planning for an outburst of creativity and painting in collaboration with his aspired friend Gauguin. Unfortunately it ended in a breakdown of this friendship with Gauguin as well as his mental state.

There is even more to the color of Yellow. Someone who doesn’t like yellow or lives in despair without hope on the brink of suicide is more likely to paint yellow in combination with black. Painting black could mean, negating yellow and the effect of it, the sun and the hope. Therefore from a color psychology perspective, Vincent in his use of yellow, which he combined with purples and blues, even accentuated the power of yellow, making it even more hopeful and something he wished for.

I am sure that deep down he always kept his hope.

Have you got a primary color ?

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