April 24, 2024

Opinion: ‘Loving Vincent’ Offers New Outlook on Famous Painter

This is the first feature film to be animated with oil paints.

Van Gogh Museum, Creative Commons //https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/dwFdD5AMQfpSew

Vincent van Gogh made a name for himself as one of the world’s best painters in history– but only after he had died.

“Loving Vincent” is the world’s first ever feature film to be completely animated in oil paints. A team of over 100 artists worked together over the course of several years to create the film, with over 65,000 oil-painted frames, according to Loving Vincent‘s website.

While most people would think that a movie about Vincent van Gogh would be about his life, “Loving Vincent” highlights the events that occurred the year following the painter’s death. Armand Roulin, the son of van Gogh’s postman, serves as the protagonist in the film, with his original goal to deliver a letter to Theo van Gogh, Vincent’s brother.

In the process of searching out Theo, Armand learns that the late painter’s brother passed away half a year after Vincent. This leads Armand on a journey to find out who exactly van Gogh was, and the story is different with every person he speaks to.

“Loving Vincent” offers insight to the life, death and theories of Vincent van Gogh. Was he suicidal? Or was he murdered by one of the many people who decided to torment him throughout his lifetime? While the film does not cover how Vincent actually died, since the public still does not know exactly, it illustrates his relationships with individuals leading up to his untimely passing.

“Loving Vincent” takes the style of and references several of van Gogh’s famous paintings, which makes the experience truly unique. There is some intermingling of pieces, such as when the postman, Joseph Roulin, a common subject for van Gogh, is set with his son in the “Cafe Terrace at Night” painting. The film also utilizes one of van Gogh’s self portraits as its tag image and for the film poster.

Overall, “Loving Vincent” is a fresh perspective of the life, relationships and works of Vincent van Gogh. As an avid fan of the late painter, I was incredibly pleased with this film. It felt genuine and like it came from a place of respect from the director, actors and all of the artists involved. “Loving Vincent” takes some of the world’s most renowned paintings and transforms each piece into living, breathing works of absolute art.


Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez 

Featured image Van Gogh Museum, courtesy of Creative Commons

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Sarah is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. When she's not in class, you can find her at a local coffee shop or in the mountains. You will typically see Sarah with her camera trying to capture the perfect shot.