Art Appreciation: Vincent van Gogh

Art Appreciation: Vincent van Gogh

Let’s begin our weekly Art Appreciation with a look at Vincent van Gogh.

Everybody has seen something by van Gogh, so he’s a great place to start!

Van Gogh - Self-Portrait August 1889

Did you know that his name is actually supposed to be pronounced van Goch (rhymes with Loch)?


Weird, huh?


If you want to know more about that, check out this link: van Gogh Pronunciation

You should start your exploration with a little look at van Gogh’s life, so look at his Wikipedia page and see where he was born.  Find it on a map. Of course, he didn’t stay there forever, so look for some of the other places he lived, and notice where he died and was buried.


Then check out his work.  Here are a few of my favorites:

“Self Portrait” (1889)

van Gogh - Sunflowers 1888
Van Gogh - Starry-Night 1889
Van Gogh - Bedroom in Arles 1889

“Sunflowers” (1888)

“Bedroom at Arles” (1889)

“Starry Night” (1889)

Here are a couple of links so you can find your own favorites:






NOTE: Parents should always click through the links for any artist first to screen for content.  Artists do paint nudes, so beware. I like to open a few pieces in different tabs before I gather the student so I know what to expect as I go.

•    As you look at his work try to notice how it changes through the years.

      Do the colors change? Do the themes or subjects change?


•    Ask your students to pick a favorite piece and tell you what they like about it.

      Is it the colors? The subject of the painting? The style?


If you have a museum nearby you should definitely take a field trip to see one of his pieces up close.  It’s so much better than seeing it online or in a book.


Now it’s time for some fun!  Van Gogh is easy to imitate, so grab a canvas and some paint and have some fun swirling the skies or paint some sunflowers if you can find some.


He also famously painted his bedroom, and every kid has one of those they can try to recreate. Make sure you talk about the different perspectives they could choose.  Have fun going around the room seeing how things look from different places.


Art is FUN!


There are also multitudes of resources on Amazon for teaching Van Gogh, so I’ve put a few below for you to check out. Enjoy!


Van Gogh (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists)


In the Garden with van Gogh


Van Gogh Stained Glass Coloring Book


Vincent’s Colors


Katie and the Starry Night


Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars (Smart About Art)






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One thought on “Art Appreciation: Vincent van Gogh

  1. That’s great! That’s a beautiful piece. It reminds me of my childhood home in Louisiana. We had lovely irises just like that in our yard. I miss those.

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