This is a portrait of the Netherlands' most famous nineteenth-century artist, Vincent van Gogh. His piercing eyes seek out the viewer; the portrait is personal and direct. It is painted in short, firm lines using many colors; a style characteristic of Van Gogh's later work. Van Gogh painted this portrait in 1887 when he was living in Paris. He lived there for two years, during which time he became acquainted with the work of the Impressionists and modern artists such as Paul Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. Of theabout thirty-five self portraits Van Gogh made, twenty-nine were painted when he was in Paris.

     In the most limited definition of the term, Impressionism as the objective study of light did not encourage so essentially a subjective study as the self-portrait but in the later expansion of the movement this self-representation was given renewed force by Cézanne and van Gogh. The latter has often been compared with Rembrandt in the number and expressiveness of his self-portraits but while Rembrandt's were distributed through a lifetime, van Gogh produced some thirty in all in the short space of five years — from the end of the Brabant period (1885) to the last year of his life at Saint–Rémy and Auvers. In each there is the same extraordinary intensity of expression concentrated in the eyes but otherwise there is a considerable variety. From the Paris period onwards he used different adaptations of Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist brushwork, separate patches of color being applied with varying thickness and direction in a way that makes each painting a fresh experience.
Other Self-Portraits of Van Gogh [click on an image to enlarge]