A Biography Essay Example: Vincent Van Gogh and Robert Frost

Published: 2022-07-13
A Biography Essay Example: Vincent Van Gogh and Robert Frost
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biography Art American literature
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1618 words
14 min read

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous and celebrated painters in world history, and pretty much the most famous artist of the nineteenth century. Born in Zundert, the Netherlands in 1853, Van Gogh went ahead to establish an illustrious painting career that ended with his bewildering accidental suicide death in 1890. Renowned for his unique textured paintwork featuring a dramatic and expressive brushwork, some of his work, like The Starry Night, Sorrow, and Sunflowers have become highly sought after and studies pieces of art even in modernity. Interestingly, Van Gogh's admirable portfolio of about 2,100 artworks was completed in the last nine years of his life, as it wasn't until 1881 that he took up painting full time. However, Van Gogh was mentally disturbed for most of his adult life, a point in case being his suicide, in which he shot himself in the chest and remained alive for 30 hours afterward before succumbing to the self-inflicted wound.

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Robert Frost is one of the best poets to have walked the earth. His awards cabinet reflects this distinction, as he was the most awarded poet of his time and was a public literary figurehead, bigger than the art for which he was famous. While Frost never graduated from any university, his highly commended books of poetry books (printed during his time in England between 1912 and 1915 gave him the opportunity to have a long and winding career as teacher and lecturer, teaching in such prestigious institutions as Amherst College, Massachusetts. Furthermore, the writer was awarded over 40 honorary degrees from such famous institutions as Princeton, Oxford, and Cambridge along with four Pulitzer prizes for poetry. More importantly, Frost has been described as the last poet who uses the old pre-nineteenth century cannons of style, rhyme, and word choice, yet his use of simple, unencumbered language inspired later day poets to disregard the hitherto restrictive rules of writing.

The paintings of Van Gogh and poems written by Robert Frost are still studied today with as much fascination as the time of their release. In this essay, we shall look into the contributions made by each to his respective field and discover any differences or similarities that emerge. The essay postulates that Van Gogh and Frost are the most remarkable artists of their fields who redefined their respective fields and left a lasting impression that survives even after their deaths.

Both Van Gogh and Frost were born in well-to-do nuclear families and enjoyed a considerably normal childhood. The families of the two artists relocated during their formative years, Van Gogh's parents from the Netherlands to England, and Frost's family from San Francisco, California to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Moving is often a very disturbing experience for children, and for Van Gogh at least, it may have contributed to his future travels as an art salesman, the job that preceded his writing career. For both, their careers before getting into their respective field of art were influenced by those of family members. Frost followed his mother into teaching despite not completing his university education. It was an occupation that would stretch throughout the poet's writing career. For Van Gogh, the art dealership job was gotten through his uncle's connections. Tragedies marked the lives of these two artists and probably played a huge role in their expression through art. While Van Gogh's family was to a large extent normal, Frost lost both his parents in a span of five years at the formative age of 11 when the poet was developing his personal identity. More specifically, both artists suffered spells of mental illnesses manifested through depression. While Frost managed to live out his life despite the spells of depression that often griped him, Van Gogh succumbed to its vicious grasp when he committed suicide at age 37. Most importantly, the two artists were a genius poet and genius painter, extremely brilliant in their art in which they were very motivated to achieve greatness and excellence. Their works were praised by critics and admired by people from all over the world, and continue to impress people today.

For all their similarities, Van Gogh and Frost were two very different people. First off, their artistic careers were in two very different fields. While Frost used words to express his ideas, Van Gogh was a very successful painter. Their art forms were as different as any two art forms can get. However, even in their chosen field, the two set different trends. While Vincent Van Gogh revitalized the post-impressionism with his impulsive and expressive brushwork, Robert Frost stuck to old styles of writing poems, even though he used the same old styles to express simple, commonplace ideas. The level of their mental illness was also quite different. Van Gogh suffered psychotic episodes that got him committed to a mental institution a few times, by Robert Frost simply suffered from bouts of depression. Recognition is another area where the two artists differed greatly. While Robert Frost was extremely well decorated in his lifetime, becoming an artistic institution in and of himself, Van Gogh did not live to see his work celebrated for the genius it was as he died too young.

The work of Van Gogh and Frost represented, in a big way, the patterns of their personal lives. Robert Frost, while observing the conventions of poetry writing on form and structure, used his work to describe simple facts of life in very pensive and philosophical ways. His artwork was inspired by real-life events around nature, like the 'After Apple-Picking" a somewhat iambic pentameter that narrates autumn life in New England. It is not hard to see from where Frost's inspiration came; he lived in New England at the time of writing those poems that had New England themes. It is his style of writing, his choice of words, and the description of simple things in profound ways, that set him apart. Van Gogh shares that character of being inspired by the things around him in his paintings. For example, The Starry Night, by far his most famous work of art, was rather derivative. The artist painted it during a stint at a mental facility. It was the view of that night through his window. The theme of environmental awareness transcends in both artists' work, for Van Gogh through his numerous landscapes, and for Frost through numerous descriptions of life in the fields of his residency in New England. From the way their art was created, it is evident that both artists wanted to stand out from the rest. They were not afraid to stand out, so they made sensational artwork and forever raised the bar in their respective trades.

While we all agree that their work was genius, we also need to recognize that they were quite differently inspired, themed, and characterized. Looking through Van Gogh's paintings, one cannot help but notice the eerie familiarity with his prescribed psychotic condition. The paintings' use of innovative brushwork and increasingly bright colors of his paints could indicate a correlating deterioration in his mental health. Robert Frost, on the other hand, maintained his style of writing, describing scenes in the same way he did when he started as he did decades later at the full maturity of his career. While his poems do not conform to nineteenth-century poem-writing standards, Van Gogh threw away all caution and created fresh uninhibited paintings. There is just something of an uninhibited soul that looks out at you from the canvas of a Van Gogh painting; you can feel the traces of a turbulent life left behind by the master painter. In Robert Frost's poems, the author's connection between the scenes described in his poems does not come out that well. Compared to Van Gogh's masterpieces in the painting world, Robert Frost's poems fail to reflect his soul as effectively as Van Gogh's paintings reflect his.

For Frost, his repeated descriptions of life in New England fields seem to communicate a profound link to the earth as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of this world. His poetry encourages us to live life to the fullest by constantly being aware of our surrounding, to question life and seek answers to those questions for which no answers have yet to be discovered. Reading many of Frost's poems, I also get the notion that he really understood how people react to natural occurrences and wanted to share this understanding with his readers. In humorous satire, Frost teaches through his poetry that human beings are better united and that taking care of the environment is a noble and urgent undertaking. As for Van Gogh, the messaging behind his paintings is very subjective, but the fact that almost all of them featured landscapes of farms, uncultivated fields, and other outdoor features indicates that Van Gogh cared deeply about the environment. Van Gogh was impacted by the recently industrialized European society to make paintings like Fishing Boats and The Old Mill and others. Both artists' works reflect the goings-on during their lifetimes, and through their art, this history has been preserved forever.

In conclusion, Vincent Van Gogh and Robert Frost are some of the most popular artists in world history. Their contributions to art and poetry are appreciated to this day, decades after their passing on. The artists shared some similarities in birth and childhood as well as having mental illnesses. Like many other artistic geniuses, Van Gogh and Frost suffered bouts of psychotic illnesses. In recognition and industry dominance, both men stood tall, but Frost edged Van Gogh out in terms of awards received in recognition for artistic excellence. The environment was a huge inspiration for both of their careers, with Frost writing numerous poems about farm life, and Van Gogh painting numerous landscapes.

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