“The Herring Net”by Winslow Homer 1875American ArtGallery 171
Whose bedroom is this? Can you guess what this person does for a living? Does it seem to be a person who is rich or poor?
(This isVan Gogh’s bedroom in Arles and because he was quite a poor painter it is furnished simply. You cannot guess from his room that he is a painter, as there are no paintbrushes or other supplies. You can seeVan Gogh’s hat and cloak that he would have used daily as he painted outside.)
What color do you see the most? What color pops out at youwhen you look at the painting? What happens when you cover upthe red bedspread.
The majority of the colors are muted blues,browns, and greens. The red bedspread is the one color that standsout among the others. Without the red bedspread, the painting looksdepressed, but the red gives the picture a happy feeling.)
What do you think is outside the window?
(You can’t see outsidethe window, but there seems to be lots of light and color.)
What do you think the weather is like in this picture? What clues does the painter use totell you about the weather?
(The foggy, gray sky and giant waves tell us that the fishermen arefishing in windy or stormy weather. The cool colors (blue, grey) give the painting a feeling of coldness.)
What feeling do you think the painter wants us to feel when looking at this painting? Howwould this feeling change if it were a sunny, calm sea?
(The painter wants us to feel respect for the dangerous job of fishing. A sunny sky and sea would give us the feeling that fishing wasan easy or a fun job.
“The Bedroom at Ar-les”by Vincent Van Gogh1889Medieval to ModernGallery 241
How many people do you see? How many boats do you see?
(There are two people fishing in the boat and there appears to be at least four schooners in the distance and one dory in the front.)
What part of the painting is closest to you? What part is furthestaway?
(The man and boy fishing in the boat are in the foreground and the schooners are in the background.)
Can you see where the land and the sky meet?
(The waves and thesky meet in the background. This line is called the horizon line.)
What things do you see hanging off of the small boat?
(The young boy with his net and the net full of herring are hanging off oppositesides of the boat. In real life, these two things keep the boat balanced and they also help the painting to feel balanced.)
Why are his belongings in pairs. How many pairs can you find?
(There are two chairs, pil-lows, washbowls, two drawings, two paintings, and two doors. Van Gogh began painting this se-ries of paintings when he was expecting Gauguin’s visit. Perhaps he was looking forward to friend-ship and partnership.)