• Primarily Portraits

Van Gogh: Paintings vs. Photos


Vincent Van Gogh, age 19
Vincent Van Gogh, age 19

Vincent Van Gogh painted more self-portraits than most other artists who worked before or after him. Only Rembrandt painted more: 40, compared to Van Gogh's 35.

Vincent felt that painted portraits--or self-portraits--could do what photographs failed to do. “I myself still find photographs frightful and don’t like to have any, especially not of people whom I know and love.”

He disliked this new technological development, which could explain why only one photo of him survives. “It isn’t easy to paint oneself," but “one seeks a deeper likeness than that of the photographer.”

London's Courtauld Gallery will mount an exhibit of Van Gogh's self-portraits Spring 2022. Might be worth the trip!




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