Emphasizing Emotion

Contributing to the unshackling of traditional artistic constraints, Munch and Van Gogh crafted communicative works; visually assaulting the viewer up to a point of realization, these works are pathos laden. Deceptively simple, the style and technique employed by these two visionaries serve as conduits, transmitting emotion via gradations in color. While their art appears easily accessible, it is wrought with intentional contradictions, conveying the feelings and lofty ideals of their creators.

Works produced by Van Gogh and Munch are inextricably linked to human nature. Such works must be viewed in tandem with the heart and the mind. The fluid lines, playful color palettes, and cropped compositions commingle to form works that are visually and intellectually intriguing. Each canvas is at once nothing more than it materiality, yet contemporaneously an entity entirely disparate from the tangible depiction. Akin to Kandinsky’s later treatise on the spiritual aspects of art, color corresponds to respective emotions. Therefore, the undulating color fields, which characterize Munch and Van Gogh’s work, trigger emotive reactions, which begin with the material form, but morph into greater contemplations on philosophical riddles, such as the meaning of: love, fear, spirituality, and death.

Wrestling with the greater meaning of human existence, Van Gogh and Munch create works that reflect the geopolitical present as well as their deeply personal philosophies. Munch: Van Gogh, an exhibition presented at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam explores the multifaceted lives of these two stylistically radical artists. Sharing similar ideological visions and modes of creating, Munch and Van Gogh never overlapped; record of the artists interactions simply does not exist. Intensely expressive, the works of Munch and Van Gogh shown together at the Van Gogh Museum create a cohesive narrative.While Munch’s works received acclaim during his lifetime, Van Gogh undulating color fields garnered appreciation only after his passing. No longer viewed as radical, confrontational creations, the canvases can now be appreciated for their pioneering ingenuity and their primal link to humanity.

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