Head of a Man (1885) by Vincent van Gogh

Head of a Man - Vincent van Gogh - 1885

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a Man
ArtistVincent van Gogh
Art MovementPost-Impressionism

About Head of a Man

The artwork “Head of a Man” is a sketch and study by the influential Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh, created in the year 1885. This piece exemplifies the artist’s dedication to emotive expression through the medium of drawing, a hallmark of the Post-Impressionism movement which sought to convey subjective and personal responses to the world.

The artwork depicts the side profile of a man’s head. The strokes are assertive and bold, evocative of van Gogh’s characteristic style that often employed dynamic lines to render form and movement. The sketch, executed in what appears to be pencil or charcoal, captures the contours of the man’s facial features with a sense of immediacy, suggesting that this work may have been a preparatory study or a spontaneous expression.

The focus of the piece is on the man’s eye, whose gaze seems intent and thoughtful. There is a heavy emphasis on the shading around the eye socket, providing depth and a sense of weight to the facial structure. The man’s nose and mouth are lightly but decisively sketched, and his hair, cheek, and neckline are indicated with swifter, less defined strokes. This variation in line quality creates a dynamic interplay between the detailed study of the face and the loosely suggested outer contours of the head.

Overall, this artwork demonstrates van Gogh’s profound ability to capture the psychological presence of his subjects with remarkable economy of line and an intensely personal artistic approach.

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