Vincent Van Gogh: An Eye for Art
Vincent Van Gogh: An Eye for Art
  • Lee Ju-a (ST Reporter)
  • 승인 2021.01.02 16:57
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Do you have a hobby? If you are looking for one, why don’t you start enjoying art and finding about an artist's intentions and meanings behind his or her works? Don’t worry. Let ST tell you how to do it. .........................Ed


Do the Soongsilians know that the Van Gogh Museum is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands? The Van Gogh Museum, one of Amsterdam’s must-see attractions, was built to commemorate the life of painter Vincent van Gogh. This reporter bought a van Gogh book that was sold at the Van Gogh Museum, and read the explanations on the painter’s works. Based on this book, ST hopes that Soongsilians will know how to
interpret the works of art of Gogh, and be more interested in art.

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist artist who painted portraits and landscapes. Post-Impressionism emerged when artists began feeling skeptical about Impressionism. Although Gogh’s life was short, he remained as the most famous artist in memory, completing more than 900 works in 10 years. His main works include The Potato Eaters, The Starry Night, Sunflowers, and The Bedroom at Arles. Van Gogh’s paintings portray a lively style of painting, projecting his emotions on the painting. However, Gogh cut off his ears and killed himself with a pistol as he battled alcoholism and mental illness.

Let’s learn to observe and interpret van Gogh’s works based on his life and background knowledge.

The Potato Eaters

Van Gogh’s first masterpiece depicts the honest lives of working people. If you look at this work, four women and a man share potatoes while sitting around a table in a dark house. The painting itself is a dark, somber, melancholy impression, and appears to be the daily life of a poor family. Sharing potatoes with rough hands due to hard labor means peace, consideration, and sacrifice at the same time. You can see their love and compassion in the barren environment of poverty.


Van Gogh loved sunflowers enough to call them the flowers of Gogh. There are 15 flowers in total. Also, the flowers, vases, and wallpaper are all yellow. With such unique color of the sunflower, Gogh unified the world in the painting. The 15 flowers extend in different directions and shapes, and are widely represented, from freshly bloomed flowers to withered flowers. Vanitas’ message, which is about remembering the intersection of life and death, is contained in Gogh’s still life works.

There are many ways to discover the artist’s intentions and meanings while interpreting his works. Although you can directly understand the interpretation through books and the Internet, ST recommends that you interpret the work by looking at the artwork yourself, and listening to the explanations of the docent by referring to art galleries, exhibitions, and plays. ST recommends the exhibition below, where Soongsilians can broaden self-development and have fun interpreting an artist’s works during the upcoming winter vacation.

ST, Lee Ju-a


Celebrating 150 Years of Henri Matisse
<Matisse: Jazz and Theater>
2020.10.31 ~ 2021.03.03 / My Art Museum

When Art Met Literature
2020.12.19 ~ 2021.03.01 / Deoksugung Palace,
National Museum of Contemporary Art


Lee Ju-a (ST Reporter)

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