The Potato Eater is an art work that was completed by Vincent van Gogh back in 1885 and is still considered one of his greatest art works. The creation, The Potato Eater was, his piece of art work that he did before articulately mastered art work and it was a surprise that the work made him famous. That is the irony that makes the art interesting. In addition, he dedicated to create an art that would portray figures in gloomy room with light coming from an oil-lit lamp. This was too ambitious to achieve; but, the ultimate outcome of the work proved his talent. This essay looks at Van Gogh's art work in regard to its significance historically, an outstanding features it has. Besides, the views of critics of the work are also covered in this paper.
Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 and passed on in 1890 and he was a social activist who also made impressions in both literary and visual arts. His artistic work was influenced by reading a lot of social literature works of socialists; like, Charles Dickens, George Eliot among other social literature artists. He learnt the art of drawing when in Holland and instead of venturing in the field of bourgeois art of portraiture, or maybe romantic narratives, he preferred to do rare examination of nature and reflect how peasants were struggling to a living. As a social activist, this was an obvious filed to engage in. The day before he discovered his impressionism, he concentrated on two things: Van Gogh the peasant and Van Gogh the peasant which is directly opposite to common urban painter/modern painter as Baudelaire characterized artists. Jones, (2003) notes the motivating factor of the great work as said by Van Gogh, "By continually observing peasant life, at all hours of the day," he wrote to Theo, "I have become so involved in it that I rarely think of anything else."
The theme that the art work conveys is the kind of life peasants led in Nuenen as observed by Van Gogh. Looking at the picture, the individuals in the art have big hands and hand. In addition, they are crooked in a manner that resembles the earth they did to earn a living. The meal that the five people are munching is potatoes and some coffee; but in eating this simple meal, they seem happy and full of life. Were the same scenario presents itself to a rich family, they would sulk and see this as once in a lifetime experience yet to the individuals, this is a normal happy way of life. The woman in the picture is staring as presumably, her husband or fiancée in an extra ordinary way. By the look of things, this seems to be in total admiration and taking a break from the hard work of toiling the land. Jones, (2003) observes that, "Van Gogh implies, these people are sexually alive. There's a bond, too, between the older couple to the right. The girl with her back to us completes the circle around the table."
The art work combines the use of red and yellow flames emanating from the oil lamp. These colors are regarded as cartoon colors and they create a sense of warmth and in the spacious room that they are in. the background is represented in grey meaning that the circumstances surrounding the people is bleak and frightening. There is a man sitting on the left side that seems perturbed and as a result, lost in thought. This can be interpreted that he is pondering over the height of injustice that has engulfed the society.
Looking closely at the picture, one notes the finer details of the art. Table edges are weathered and the supporting pillar that holds the building. Other fine details include: a woman pouring coffee and the largely portioned potatoes that are being craved for by the bonny figures in the art work among other fine aspects that can be noticed by viewers. In general, the overall image tells that the building is owned by the five individuals. By portraying a number of issues that the society faced at that time, Van Gogh proves his ability to create a multiple figure work of art. Any good piece of art work should have a theoretical framework upon which an artist builds his/her theme after which what is perceived is put in form of images. These key features are used by Van Gogh and this should be an inspirational work for those pursuing careers in art work.
Though this art work is seen as a masterpiece by a number of viewers, there are those feeling that it is not that good. "One glance at this ultra-famous painting immediately reveals that it is indeed a master we are dealing with here, though at times critics have labeled this beloved work clumsy and even oafish," (Life of Van Gogh, 2010). Other critics see the picture as being moralistic and preachy following Van Gogh association with Christian life. His father was preacher and these critics view that as an influence to his art work.
In a nut shell, the art work in general depicts one of the greatest art works that Van Gogh painted. This is because he successfully conveyed his message of how the peasants suffered and advocated for sobriety in the society in regard to taking care of others as neighbors and relatives. That is an impression that one sees at the first glance of the art work. The art work can be found in Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands.