Friday, October 5, 2007

Book Review: Vincent van Gogh by Eileen Lucas

Today’s book review is again on a book featuring van Gogh. So many great picture books have been written about this artist that it can be difficult to choose one. There will certainly be more to come.

For a review of the Yellow House by Susan Goldman Rubin, click here.

Click here for more information on Vincent van Gogh.

Eileen Lucas’ Vincent van Gogh is perfect for kids just able to read on their own. She begins at the start of van Gogh’s career when he is making sketches of the poor and continues until the end of his life. She writes about van Gogh’s life and how he created his artwork, squeezing paint straight from the tube onto the canvas and layering the paint in thick textures. Lucas also introduces the idea of Impressionism.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Rochelle Draper who used van Gogh’s own paintings, including his many self-portraits, as inspiration. The pictures have the appearance of having been painted on canvas, just as van Gogh’s were.


Seeing van Gogh’s paintings in a museum helped me to understand the difference between a poster and real painting. There’s is something truly special about looking at the same canvas that the artist worked on. When you look the Yellow House you know that Vincent van Gogh himself placed his hands on that canvas. Plus, the layering of paint makes van Gogh’s subjects almost 3D. You can’t see that in a book or online. Seeing van Gogh’s paintings is a great reason to visit a museum.

Because van Gogh painted so many pieces, it is almost impossible to visit a major art museum without seeing at least one. Also, he painted subjects that everyone is familiar with. Most people have seen sunflowers up close. Most people know what farm land looks like. It’s easy to be comfortable looking at van Gogh’s masterpieces because you can understand what he was painting. He also used bright, attractive colors in many of his paintings which make looking at them fun.

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