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the postman

Grace Zhou's picture

The eyes. He is staring at you, at every angle. I was attracted at the first glance of “The post man” by Van Gogh. People will be swamped into his deep eyes with complex emotions. I couldn’t resist sticking to that pair of eyes. At first, I feel the sadness, and then I find a sense of pride and even arrogance inside. (Maybe because he stares at me directly as the way I stare at him for a long time.) The whole painting is full of lines and mixed colors. His mustaches are twisted, curly and dark; his face is not that clear with various tones of colors combined (warm color such as orange, red and pink, cold colors such as cyan, gray and dark green); however, in sharp contrast, his eyes are so clear. The blue eyes are breathtakingly beautiful like a holy lake surrounded by the messed forest. It has a magic power that I can’t move away my sight. After a long time, I find that it is not sad, not arrogant, but innocent. No. It is some kind of innocent grief that being expressed from his eyes. 


The figure. The portrait is not even. The left side eyes are lower, the left button larger and higher, left shoulder higher and sharper, the left side mustaches and coat lighter in color. The whole figure seems to be closer to the right of painting. With the higher eyes on the right, the poster maybe is looking at something on the right. There are green lines on the boarder of the right figures, seeming to emphasis the right side of figure. So, the whole figure is not that even. What is more, the face of the postman is like a landscape after I stared him for a long while (I can’t feel the time when I was with him). The reflection of light on the forehead is the sky. The sharp eyebrows, shadows of nose and mixed cold colors of the veins and skin are like mountains far away. The redness on the cheek is the farmland with clusters of rice plants in autumn. The green mustaches are just like bushes.


The relations. The only words on the painting are the “POSTES” on the hat and the signature of the painter “Vincent”. Thus, it seems that there are connection and relation between the painter and the posters. Also, the left orbit is in the shape of right eyebrow; and the shape of left eyebrow is more like that of right orbit over the eyes. There are strong connections between background and the poster himself as well. The man is very natural, straight and dark, but the background is colorful, decorative and bright. It’s a large contrast that a man with grief is in an infusive and energetic background. More over, there are still many connections. The warm color on postman’s cheek and lips are naturally related to the pink flowers; the curly mustache is in the same shape of the rolled rachis in the background. As a result of which, the whole painting becomes more harmonized. Also, there is a dark dot in every rounded leaf, which reminds me the eyes of the man. Surprisingly, I found that the leaves are so like the eyes, staring at me.


The paint itself. It is easy to find the brush line on the painting. Every move of pigment is clear and strong. However, many lines are broken and separated. In other words, the color of each brush reflects the painter’s intention- darker side is the start and lighter one is the end. Although some flowers are clear and order, others are not well planned. The colors are overlap for leaves on the left and there are no exact shapes of them on the right. It seems that Van Gogh just painted them unintentionally. Also, there are four pairs of strange flowers beside the left ear, over hat and shoulder. When I stand closer to the paint, there are some black fractures on the pigment. When I stay farer, I can see the whole painting starts brighter above and ends with darker color with the interruption of the dark hat in the middle. Although the hat is not the center of the painting, it’s easy for it to capture people’s eyes with the words and color. Also, the hat seems to be placed on the golden section of the painting to draw people’s attention.


The place of this painting is interesting too. This portrait is on the most left side of the wall. It is a corner that viewer only can stand on the right of the painting because if the guard line. Thus, as I have discussed, the man is putting more emphasis on the right side, a side that views are standing. The warm tone of color on the wall foils the effect of the green background in the painting.