Self-Portraits: Van Gogh and G

Self-Portraits: Van Gogh and Gauguin
The pulsating relationship between Van Gogh and Gauguin during the fall of 1888 in Arles is well known, nevertheless Silverman reveals a complicated cultural and religious background of both painters that previously had not been explored.While concentrating on their principally different religious upbringings both artists emerge in startling new ways.At the core we find two opposing ways of using works of art for religious expression .Silverman challenges us to perhaps look beyond the personality clashes, opposing life styles, and metal illness that culminated their time in Arles and instead to their place in time amongst religion and modernism.
Silverman introduces us to Gauguin by exposing his Roman Catholic education where he was taught the theology of the cross, the irrelevance of the material world and the importance to aspire to paradise.On the other hand she uncovers Van Gogh's contrasting upbringing from a humanistic Dutch theology.As both men attempted to identify with their personal history and struggled, as a result, their individual beliefs grounded them in very different institutions.Silverman writes in the introduction: "I was intrigued by how Gauguin may have assimilated from his seminary training certain mental habits and attitudes toward the visual that were profoundly discordant with those I had identified with Van Gogh's formative period in his Dutch theological culture, and I suspected that these distinctive mentalities had implications for the form and content of their work"(p. 5).
Their time in Arles was marked atfirst by mutual support and dialogue, however, there always was competition and friction between them.They each admired the other's work and during their time together they collaborated on techniques and introduced different perspectives.Gauguin liked to paint from a place of nostalgia, allowing abstract psycho…

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