The Early Works

“My opinion is that the best thing would be to work on till art lovers feel drawn toward it of their own accord, instead of having to praise or to explain it”. —Vincent Van Gogh

The early works of Vincent Van Gogh tend to center around peasant life’ and are often called bleak or even bland in color. Though the paintings are not all that colorful’ as they were mostly done in dark browns’ grays’ and even blacks’ they were rich in detail. Vincent was very taken with the lives of miners and weavers’ and he painted them with the same intensity in which he watched them work. Van Gogh really identified with these people’ and this comes through in his paintings of them. Though the paintings appear as though Vincent had no hope for the people in them’ this was not at all the case’ as Vincent actually greatly admired the people and how hard they worked.

His earliest work recorded’ in 188 1′ is actually known as Cabbage and Clogs and while it’s not a typical landscape scene that Van Gogh was known for during this era’ or depictions of peasant life’ it’s an outstanding example of his overall technique and use of color. Though Vincent Van Gogh could have chosen bright greens and shades of yellow to make the cabbage really pop out’ he used darker’ more muted tones. Perhaps his use of color was related to his state of mind? It’s not really known’ though many suggest his lack of color had to do with his lack of experience and happiness.

A great example of his early works and use of dark colors and an almost melancholy atmosphere is The Potato Eaters. The Potato Eaters was painted by Vincent in 1885 and is a true representation of his painting style at the time. Very detailed’ but very dark’ and insightful into his longing to understand and even relate to people. It was almost as if Vincent was longing to understand people’ and these people who worked from on the land and lived from it were the easiest to understand.

Peasant Burning Weeds is another beautiful piece of work that sort of captures the colors and style of Van Gogh’s work during this time’ though it was painted a couple years before The Potato Eaters’ it shows the consistency and style of Van Gogh.

The same dark colors are used to depict something that probably took place in this person’s life just about every day. While the act depicted in the painting isn’t all that interesting or entertaining’ Van Gogh is able to bring another dimension to the activity’ making you wonder who the peasant was’ possibly what he did with his life’ and what he was burning.

These early works are more inspiring than one would think with just a quick glance’ but when you take a moment to really stop and look at the painting and all its detail’ it’s ama2ing the emotion and wonder something so simple as a peasant burning weeds can evoke within the observer. Peasant Burning Weeds is also a wonderful example of the way Van Gogh was able to use color to depict light and even heat. Though Peasant Burning Weeds isn’t one of his most famous pieces of art’ it is definitely a great example of his early works before he really started being influenced by the art and techniques of others.
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