Portrait of An Artist: Vincent Van Gogh – review

Written by Lucy Brownridge Illustrated by Édith Carron

Published by Wide Eyed Editions ISBN: 978-1-78603-645-2

Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster

A cultural titan who still influences the art world more than 100 years after his death, Van Gogh is a man who is well known and loved for his peerless artworks, but also known for his tragic suffering detailed in the letters to and from his brother Theo.

If you publish a book about Vincent Van Gogh it is likely to succeed.

A famous face stares out at us from the cover of this hardback book. Vincent Van Gogh is surrounded by the subjects of his trade; sunflowers, cypress trees and a swirling combination of clouds and sky. A palette that is evocative of a sun blasted summer’s day. This is a portrait of an artist who was unlike any other in the history of western art. Wide Eye Editions have published an enjoyable addition to their series that features great artists and their lives.

Illustrator Édith Carron has done a remarkable job considering that she is competing with examples of Van Gogh’s own works. Her bright unfussy colours and delicate pencil work are combined to create tableaux of his life and times on double page spreads. With a few well-placed marks Carron is able to suggest fine detail but without over-working her drawings.

This painful tale is handled with sensitivity and restraint by author Lucy Brownridge. She allows us to see all the key moments from Vincent’s short life. If a young reader wants to know more about the history behind the paintings then this can be found on the last three pages of the book. This compliments the story and adds some important details about his more famous paintings.

This is the story of a man who lost his life, as lovers often do in fables of long ago. There was possibly no other artist of this period capable of creating a work like The Starry Night – sublime. This is a simple but effective addition to the many books on this subject. Why would you want another book about Van Gogh I hear you say? I say, you would want this one!


8th November 2019
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