Interpretive Resource

Summary: Van Gogh's Self-Portrait

Quick facts about the artist and his colorful, emotional self-portrait.

CD: With Open Eyes
Art Institute of Chicago. With Open Eyes: Images from The Art Institute of Chicago. CD-ROM. New York: Voyager, 1994.

Van Gogh experimented with the use of color to express emotion. In this self-portrait, his brush strokes are short and quick, and the painting dances with dots and dashes of different colors. His head is encircled with a "halo" or ring of colors, and orange dots in the background seem to reflect the orange-red of his beard. He painted himself looking directly at the viewer with a sharp gaze. He seems to frown and wrinkle his brow in concentration. The colors are as intense as his own personality.

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