Factories At Clichy: The Works Of Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh

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Art and literature are parts of the superstructure. So ideas behind art and literature, during a time period, are a reaction to the economic structure and the values that come from the mode of production. These reactions can be positively or negatively depicted within art. Furthermore, an economic structure can influence who controls art which can therefore cause artists to react in new styles. As Marx says, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.” So, at a literal level, if one’s current social existence is negative due to the system then their art will portray that. One example of an artist negatively portraying the system would be the work of Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh during the late 19th century. Early in his life, Van Gogh experienced the horrors of a coal mining town and witnessed the dehumanization from the inhumane working…show more content…
Many of his early works, such as The Potato Eaters, showed the dark, gloomy lives that many people lived due to the effects of industrialization. The people depicted within the potato eaters look battered and beaten to the point of almost grotesque. Even after Van Gogh was inspired by brighter Impressionists, his work still exhibited the horrors of industrialization. In his painting, Factories at Clichy, Van Gogh used size to emphasize the poor working conditions. The two humans in his work are about the same size or even larger than the factories, thus showing the cramped spaces. So, at a surface level, an economic system can provide inspiration through content to artists. At a deeper level, past simply what is depicted within the art and literature, the economic structure of a time

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