SLJ_logo_web

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Vincent van Gogh.

Color, approx. 22 min. (closed captioned). Kiki & Assocs. 2001. $24.95

K-Gr 8- The life and work of Vincent van Gogh is pre­sented in this video based on the children’s book by Mike Venezia. The book series is well known for it’s juxtaposi­tion of cartoon and art to tell the story of an artist’s life. The video presents van Gogh as an animated character highlighting the facts of his life. Born and raised in the Nethertands, he worked at an art gallery and a bookstore, and as a teacher and minister before deciding to become an artist at the age of 27. In Paris, he was introduced to other Impressionist artists such as Gauguin and Seurat. Although a prolific painter, Van Gogh was destitute much of his life.

The video mentions his mental illness and how it affected his painting. The events that lead up to van Gogh cutting off his ear and his suicide are discussed as well; the suicide is mentioned almost as an afterthought and will not disturb even the youngest viewers. While the animation is jarring in contrast to Van Gogh’s art, it works as a mechanism to hook youngsters into learning about art. The paintings shown here, both in full view and close up, represent his rollercoasting emotional states. His method of painting and the influence of Japanese prints in his use of color are detailed in terms that children can un­ derstand.

The video ends by showing each work of art used in the video with the title, artist, and current location. After watching this enjoyable introduction to van Gogh, kids will want to head to the museum to see the actual paintings. – Rhonda Kasemodel Puntney, Lakeshores Library System, WI

OCTOBER 2001 School Library Journal