Monday, June 22, 2015

An 1887 Photo of Vincent Van Gogh has been Discovered


Everyone knows the Van Gogh of the great self-portraits, but the recently discovered photo above is the only known image purporting to show his face during the final years of his life, the period in which the great portraits were painted. Van Gogh is the man seated in back, third from left, staring directly into  the camera. The two men in front are Van Gogh's then-intimate friends the painters Emile Bernard (left) and Paul Gauguin (right, in fez). Experts have also identified the other men, and details about them and the photo will likely be forthcoming. There will, of course, be disagreements among the experts, but the photo convinced me almost immediately. I have compared the figure in this photo with the photo of Van Gogh at 19, and to my unprofessional eye, this appears to be an older version of the same face (with a beard trimmed to square-off the jawline). Yes, this Kris Kristofferson-looking 19th-century dude is probably Vincent Van Gogh. Here's a blow-up:

3 comments:

Corey said...

I just purchased Beauty and Terror. Looking forward to the read. Your stuff is juicy and right up my ally (symbiotic). Thank you!

I was wondering what to read for Art history, culture, psych, etc. How has Art (sculpture, painting, film, internet, etc) changed humans throughout time...

Listening to the Black Sabbath record Master of Reality while typing this..

Corey said...

This coming from a 33 year old beer truck driver ; )

BRIAN OARD said...

Thanks, man. The thought of Black Sabbath brings back my Seventies childhood in a Richard Linklater-directed version of a Proustian rush. For general art history and culture, I've been known to recommend Arnold Hauser's Social History of Art (4 paperback volumes from Vintage) and Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae. For how art changes us, you might find McLuhan's Understanding Media suggestive; it's old and the examples are seriously out of date, but the ideas are still valuable.