Reading, 29

van_gogh.jpgYou are going to read an article about a famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Seven sentences have been removed from the article. Choose from the sentences A – H the one which fits each gap 16 – 21. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).

A “What I want to express, in both figure and landscape, isn’t anything sentimental or melancholy, but deep anguish. In short, I want to get to the point where people see my work and say: that man feels deeply, that man feels keenly.”

B It’s quite remarkable, then, that during his year in the asylum he managed to create a series of beloved masterpieces such as the Starry Night, found today at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

C “I already feel,” he wrote that year, “old and broken.”

D “I didn’t have to put myself out very much in order to try and express sadness and extreme loneliness,” Van Gogh wrote.

E In April 1899, Van Gogh had checked himself into the asylum in this monastery, looking for relief from the epilepsy that had tormented him in Aries, where he had threatened his friend Paul Gauguin with a razor and had cut off his own left ear lobe during a fit.

F Now light and wonderful pure colours were everywhere in his work: yellow, red, green and blue, all glowing under the sun.

G At 16, he went to work for an art dealer, a job that his younger brother, Theo, followed him into.

H “The day will come, however, when people will see that they are worth more than the price of the paint and my living expenses.”

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

The Life of Vincent Van Gogh

The Provencal sun was blinding on the warm winter day when I drove into Saint-Remy. I reached the Monastery of St Paul-de-Mausole, where the garden looked just as I thought it would its flowers and trees much as Vincent Van Gogh had painted them more than a century ago.

0: E

Van Gogh had arrived in Provence the previous year, finally finding himself as a painter after a decade of artistic wandering. When the voices drove him to Saint Remy, Van Gogh was in one of the most productive periods any artist has ever had, creating in the last 21 1/2 years of his life the work that most people know him by. But there were times in Saint-Remy, after he ate paint, when his doctors wouldn’t let him near the artist’s palette.  16: _____ 

Van Gogh was the most autobiographical artist, and his works reveal much about the last years of his passionate life. Born in Holland in 1853 Vincent Van Gogh was the eldest son of a priest; his formal education was patchy, but he was a great reader who loved literature and biography.

17: _____At 23, Vincent was fired. He then wandered through odd jobs before he decided to become an artist. “I want to paint drawings that will touch people,” he wrote to Theo in 1882.  18: _____

Van Gogh started writing regularly to Theo in 1872 and continued to express his feelings and his artistic adventures until just before his death in 1890. Half of Van Gogh’s painting life was spent in the dark; working in sad tones where sunlight was rare. In early 1886 he travelled to Paris to live with Theo, years in which Theo financially supported his brother. A series of self-portraits shows how he felt during that period. The pictures show him with fierce, suspicious and tired eyes.  19: _____ 

He would find rebirth in the south of France. That winter he moved to Arles, where he was fascinated by the flowers and the sun. “I am in a constant fever of work,” he told Theo. 20: _____

But poverty and the pain of having sold only a few of his paintings pressed in on Van Gogh as his health failed. “I cannot help that my pictures do not sell,” Van Gogh wrote.  21: _____ 

Some years later Van Gogh shot himself. Theo died six months later but his widow, Johanna devoted the rest of her life to establish Vincent Van Gogh as a great painter.

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