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Vincent van Gogh (18531890) is often considered to be a genius in a class of his own, an exceptional self-taught artist who paid little attention to the art world around him. In reality, Van Gogh learned extensively from others, exchanged ideas with his contemporaries, and often made use of prevailing methods and techniques to hone his skills. This extraordinary book explores the workmanship behind his artistry. The reader follows Van Gogh's quest to perfect his skills and the way he adopted various drawing and painting techniques; acquired information about materials; learned about the physical characteristics of canvasses, paint, paper, chalk, and other materials; how he approached working on paper and canvas and which factors influenced his working practice. Showing his work alongside that of other artists demonstrates the degree to which he followed examples set by his contemporaries. Van Gogh's working methods are explored along with his most famous works, addressing topics as the use of a perspective frame, color theory, the influence of contemporaries and the famous repetitions of a theme as in the Sunflowersand the Bedroomseries.
Marije Vellekoop is curator of prints and drawings at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.