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“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jul 27th, 2022

Description

The work selected for this paper is On the Threshold of Eternity by Vincent van Gogh, also known under the title Old Man in Sorrow. It is an oil painting on canvas, finished by the artist in 1890. Currently, it is exhibited at Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherland. The painting portrays a fragile old man sitting on a chair and crying in front of a burning fireplace.

Analysis

The artwork depicts an old man in distress, sitting in a hunched-over position. The man is hiding his face behind the hands clenched in fists. Although the emotions on his face are concealed from the view, it is evident that the man is in great distress. The color scheme also suggests emotional anguish, with the subject of the painting portrayed in blue, a color often associated with sadness and loneliness.

Interpretation

Old Man in Sorrow can be understood as a tribute and a eulogy to sorrow, grief, and depression in the last years of one’s life. The man expresses his deepest pain sitting alone in the room, as he has no one to share his feelings and fears with. He is alone in the world the viewers are shown in the painting and is likely to spend the rest of his days without the comfort of company. It can be assumed that van Gogh wanted to express his own emotional state in the artwork, showing the loneliness of his final years.

Judgment

Overall, the painting Old Man in Sorrow by Vincent van Gogh is an excellent portrayal of the frustration, grief, and loneliness experienced by the artist at the end of his life. The painter masterfully portrays his emotions in the artwork, placing the titular old man in the center of the composition and ensuring that the viewer’s focus is on him. The deep sorrow felt by the artist is reflected in his work, contributing to it being arguably one of the most crucial by van Gogh.

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"“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic." IvyPanda, 27 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-threshold-of-eternity-a-critic/.

1. IvyPanda. "“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic." July 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-threshold-of-eternity-a-critic/.


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IvyPanda. "“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic." July 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-threshold-of-eternity-a-critic/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic." July 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/on-the-threshold-of-eternity-a-critic/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) '“On the Threshold of Eternity”: A Critic'. 27 July.

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