This painting is a portrait of Dr Paul Gachet, which was created by Vincent Van Gogh in June, 1890 before Van Gogh suicide one month later. Van Gogh said, “I want to draw a picture of one of my artist friend who is full of great ideal. I hope I can put my feeling and admiration to him into the picture. I exaggerated the color of his golden hair, I also didn’t paint the normal wall behind his head, while used a colorful and strong blue to do the infinite profound background. And this combination makes his head with golden hair look like star in the sky-like strong blue background.” He wrote a line when he was drawing the picture, “People might be staring at them even 100 years later and be full of recalling.” He wrote these 100 years ago, and he really did it.
Dr Paul Gachet was born in 1828 and died in 1909. He is a Psychiatrist who has a good friendship with many impressionists. He also paints and likes to collect a lot of artistic products, especially the impressionists.
In this painting, the character is graceful and peaceful; his slim body is supported by his arm in order to keep balance. However, the intension and sorrow is reflected by the painting composition and limit room around the character. It indicates that the painter is about to suffer a much more pain.
In the whole blue picture, the red table in the left corner appears quite towering. The depressed expression on Dr Paul Gachet’s face acts in cooperation with the blue tone in the picture.
Van Gogh once wrote a letter to Theodorus and said, “His wife died a couple of years ago, but he is really a great doctor. He is always inspired by his career and belief. We’ve already become good friends……I am trying to draw a picture of him. He wears a white hat which is extremely light and bright and is dressed in a blue coat. The background is cobalt blue and he leans on a red table.”
The principle of the composition of this picture is according to a diagonal line. The character inclines along the the diagonal line and the diagonal line goes through the whole picture from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. The combination of the color in this picture might be the most important thing to convey the deep feelings of the painter. The coat of the doctor is blue and black, but we can also find ivory of the canvas in some part, and the red table makes the color contrast much stronger.