van gogh

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Someone tried to cancel Vincent van Gogh, and Twitter isn’t having it

The art community rushed to defend van Gogh's work and life.

Aug 31, 2020, 9:11 pm

Internet Culture

 

Siobhan Ball

Vincent van Gogh started trending on Monday after one Twitter user called him “overrated,” and fans of the late Dutch painter fought back in a big way.

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"Yeah, no, no Van Gogh slander in this house please" meme of a black man receiving a piggy back from a black woman in a yellow dress making the I'm watching you gesture at a dark haired woman. The man is labelled Van Gogh, the woman in yellow the art community and the other woman 'realism is the real art Van Gogh is overrated"
@toastsandwichh
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"I’m tired of seeing “Van Gogh is overrated” slander so here’s some of my favorite pieces. Realism has its place in art but it will never discredit Van Gogh’s genius"  Van Gogh's The Peach Tree, a softly curving  tree against a green and blue backdrop, Van Gogh's  Wheat Field, an abstract painting of wheat and dark green trees against a blue sky, and Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Crows, an abstract painting of a wheat field under a threatening dark blue sky with crows
@catie_allard
"I saw a lot of criticism towards Van Gogh lately and I decided to tweet my favorite paintings of him remembering that ART is NOT a representation of REALITY but an  OWN vision of reality, and the one he gave us is one of the most intense and emotional ever  #vincentvangogh #arte" images of Van Gogh's Tree Roots, impressionistic curving tree roots in warm colours, Almond Blossoms, a painting of white blossoms set against bright medium blue, The Potato Eaters, a darkly coloured image of people eating potatoes in traditional Dutch clothing and  Wheatfield with Crows, a painting of a wheat field under a dark blue sky with crows in flight
@Cam16Dc
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Though Twitter user @margaritaevna95 made her initial tweet on the subject back on Aug. 7, it took a little while for things to get going, but once art Twitter got a hold of it, no one was holding back. Her tweet shows side-by-side cafe paintings by van Gogh and Chinese painter Haixia Liu. "Should expose how overrated van Gogh is," she wrote.

"Haixia Liu, 1962, (left) paints Van Gogh more skillfully than Van Gogh (right).  Should expose how overrated Van Gogh is." the two paintings side by side, both show a street cafe at night but one is more realistic and the other more abstract
@margaritaevna95

The responses from Art Twitter were swift and defended van Gogh's style.

"Van Gogh is trending. Take your photo realism and bite me." Van Gogh painting of a skeleton smoking a cigarette
@margaritaevna95
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"The fetishization of realism kills art." screenshot of original tweet
@paintedIife

Some took an educational route, explaining that while realism is a valid and highly skilled art form, it's not inherently better than other styles as each style is designed to achieve different things. Van Gogh's work was about expressing emotion through color, brush strokes, and impressionistic forms rather than accurately reproducing the scene in front of him.

"I'm not gonna accept any Van Gogh slander on my TL. Firstly, realism does not define good art. If it did then art would be pointless. Secondly, Van Gogh's brush strokes and the way he depicts the sky have this dreamy quality to them and I feel more emotion in his piece than Liu's" screenshot of the original tweet
@paintedIife
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This is such a Bad and Ignorant take.1st, Liu was BORN in 62. B of all, vanGogh was a Post-Impressionist pioneer w over 2K works some of which are more realistic than others. Liu, active a full CENTURY later and using an adjacent but different style, (continued)
@Pandabbadon
Are we really saying Van Gogh was a bad artist now because he didn't paint hyper realistically. Is that what we're doing now.   Way to completely miss the point of why Van Gogh painted in the way that he did in the first place. Are we really saying Van Gogh was a bad artist now because he didn't paint hyper realistically. Is that what we're doing now.   Way to completely miss the point of why Van Gogh painted in the way that he did in the first place.
@Pandabbadon
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"Photo realism is great, I dont discount the amount of skill it takes and several mediums of art (Video Games for example) can make great use of it. That said Van Gogh wasn't about realism, it was about taking how HE saw the world and putting on a canvas for us all to enjoy." screenshot of the original tweet
@catie_allard

Others expressed their outrage on van Gogh's behalf. Many Twitter users feel particularly defensive of the artist after the struggles he experienced during his life and found this a particularly mean-spirited attack on the man and his artistic style.

Ok, I know my opinion as a virtual nobody means absolutely nothing, but if you hate VanGogh in any context, please unfollow and block me right now. I have always adored this man's art, and to see it being shit on because he wasn't as technical as someone today legitimately makes me sad. These are probably the same people who only listen to music for how its played, not for what is being played.
@HellfireViolet
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I HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY AND SOME MENTAL ILLNESSES AS VAN GOGH. IF YOU WANNA INSULT HIM YOURE GONNA HAVE TO GET THROUGH ME TOUGH GUY
@creepydoll
i understand why van gogh cut off his ear and shot himself in the middle of an open field like i get it now
@creepydoll

And then there were the parodies made of her comparison, where people laid increasingly ludicrous images next to his work under @margaritaevna95's original statement.

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"Twitter user reonagist, 2020, (left) paints Van Gogh more skillfully than Van Gogh (right).  Should expose how overrated Van Gogh is." a scribbled stick figure drawing next to Van Gogh's
@reonagist
"twitter user cinegabe, 2020, (left) paints van gogh more skillfully than van gogh (right).  should expose how overrated van gogh is." scribbled drawing of a burger next to the Van Gogh from the original tweet
@reonagist
"interesting how picasso, van gogh, and michelangelo have been absolutely silent since louis tomlinson drew these" image of Tomlinson drawing next to his doodles
@reonagist
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As for @margaritaevna95, her position appears unchanged. Today she tweeted, "Attached is a realistic painting of a scene underwater looking up at the sun done by @churin_liya on Instagram. People who argue that realism squashed creativity have never had the discipline to try it. It takes great skill & creativity to capture the beauty that’s already there." Some Twitter users have pointed out the picture in question is actually an example of impressionism rather than realism.

"Attached is a realistic painting of a scene underwater looking up at the sun done by @churin_liya on instagram.  People who argue that realism squashed creativity have never had the discipline to try it. It takes great skill & creativity to capture the beauty that’s already there" lightly impressionistic painting of rocks under water
@margaritaevna95

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*First Published: Aug 31, 2020, 9:11 pm