Why Popularity Chose Vincent van Gogh

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Elizabeth Harris (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Heather Waldroup

Abstract: Vincent van Gogh is arguably one of the most famous artists. From his artwork consuming social media with merchandise sales and reproductions to being featured in museum spaces, there is definitely not a lack of exposure to the artist’s work. His name is just as potent in popular culture, frequently being remembered as the artist who cut off a portion of his ear. With such a magnitude of popularity, why van Gogh became so popular becomes a curious question. Why was the artist chosen by popularity? The answer arises with the analysis of his biography and the work of scholars which have frequently romanticized and mystified the artist into a saintly martyr. By comparing scholarly work surrounding van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, the cause for van Gogh’s rise to fame is compared to the contested status of Gauguin in popular culture. Through analysis and comparison, the work of scholars with adoration, romanticization, and mystification turn the artist into a selfless saint, martyr, and relatable figure and therefore is the cause of why popularity chose Vincent van Gogh.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Harris, S. (2023). Why Popularity Chose Vincent van Gogh. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2023
Vincent van Gogh, popular, art, biography

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