“I will smoke even after I’m dead”

Vincent van Gogh, Skull with Burning Cigarette

Vincent van Gogh, Skull with Burning Cigarette

Vincent van Gogh has been known for his sometimes dark or humorous paintings, in this he shows a model skeleton smoking a cigarette.

This painting displayed  was done by Vincent van Gogh at some point through 1885-86, it was done at the time he was enrolled in an art academy. At this academy they practiced using live models and often used skeletons to have a better understanding of the human anatomy. Actual people were used in modeling as well as plaster casts, once the students were advanced enough they were then able to use live people and other objects in the modeling part of the artistic process.

Vincent was only enrolled in the art class a short time after this painting was complete. his Art directors found his work to be very “crude,” a few weeks later he left the school. as seen in the painting the classical dark image of a skeleton is used to create a dark image in the viewers mind, but this dark image is turned slightly humours when the cigarette is taken in to account.while taking the art class Van Gogh often displayed this kind of dark humor in his paintings. Although he did this some other works he did not find as important. He remarked that “”the fruits of his academic training as “damned boring,”” so he used his humor to add liveliness to his art.

He uses his art to reflect how he is as most artist do even if it is unknowingly. His humours behavior is easy to point out in some of his works and goes on to show what kind of person he was.


Creative Commons License

Van Gogh Museum,  (2005-2013). Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette, 1886 Vincent  van Gogh (1853-1890). from Van Gogh Museum database: http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?page=1628&lang=en
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.