ARTH 01 — The Paintings of Vincent van Gogh
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—May 6
Time: 6:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 3
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Instructor(s): Alexander Nemerov
Was Vincent van Gogh the greatest painter ever? If so, what does that word “greatest” even mean? This course will challenge students to enter into the world of painting, in order to find its transformative powers and strange and sudden common sense—its capacity to make our lives clearer, if only for a moment. Starting with van Gogh’s paintings of the asylum’s grounds at Saint-Rémy, the course will explore how his art makes the world startlingly present—how he portrayed trees and sky and budding branches in such unflinching, unapologetic terms. We will discuss how painting itself is an “asylum,” though not in any simple sense (as an escape or refuge). Considering the life and art of this great painter from his time at Saint-Rémy, then back through his earlier art, his time as a preacher, and his youth, the course will encourage students to encounter van Gogh’s paintings with an intensity something like the painter’s own.
Alexander Nemerov, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities, StanfordAlexander Nemerov has been voted one of Stanford’s top ten professors by The Stanford Daily. He is the author of many books on art and cultural history. His newest book, Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York, will be published in early 2021. He is the chair of Stanford's Department of Art and Art History.
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Steven Naifeh, Gregory Smith, Van Gogh: The Life (ISBN 0375758976)