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Ten Favorite Vincent Van Gogh Paintings

Updated on January 19, 2012

Vincent Van Gogh was a tormented soul whose paintings didn't garner a lot of attention and critical acclaim until after his death by suicide as a young man.

Identified primarily as a post-impressionist painter, Van Gogh produced just under 900 paintings in his relatively short life. So my favorites come with the caveat that I haven't seen all of Van Gogh's paintings yet, but among the many I have seen, these are my ten favorites.

These are listed according to my personal tastes, and not as an art critic.

But having a wide variety of interests, they do span across several themes of Van Gogh, from his shoes to works including water and bridges.

Mostly I like his country, farming and paintings including people in them. His painting snapshots of the era he lived in are magnificent in my opinion.

Shoe Paintings of Van Gogh

If you're familiar at all with the art of Vincent Van Gogh, you'll know he had a number of paintings of shoes, and while odd subject matter to focus on, he did them incredibly well, as shown in "Three Pair of Shoes" below. I'm not sure why, but I am impressed with this particular painting. I think it's how detailed and realistic the shoes look that attracts me to it.

Van Gogh's 'Three Pair of Shoes'

Although "Starry Night" is the most well known painting of stars of Van Gogh, I like "Starlight Over the Rhone" even better. The song "Vincent" by Don McLean has immortalized Starry Night in the minds of this generation. But the vivid yellow colors and unique lines in Starlight are extremely compelling and well done in my view.

While most people think of the prior painting as the style of Van Gogh, the shoe painting and The Ox Cart show he had vastly different painting styles, depending on the subject matter he was creating. I really enjoy period pieces like the one below.

Starlight Over the Rhone

The Ox Cart

Any theme with a garden or yard is always attractive to me, and Van Gogh does a great job with them, as the Woman in the Garden confirms.

Woman Walking in the Garden

Coal Barges is among my favorite Van Gogh paintings. The bright colors of the skyline mixed with the dark figures in the foreground are fantastic. I like the way the simple brushstrokes convey so much. This is a fantastic painting.

Coal Barges - Yellow

Like many of those who appreciate the genius of Van Gogh, Evening the Watch after Millet reveals some amazing textures resulting in the extraordinary painting. It's amazing to me how Van Gogh could take the unique brush strokes and create the images he did. The contrasting light and shadow are great.

Evening the Watch after Millet

Having lived in the northern part of Minnesota when I was growing up, this painting by Van Gogh brings back memories of the autumn when walking among the woods in the region, as winter was just around the corner. The fall colors here are great, and the woman stands out nice in the midst of the grandeur of the forest.

A Girl in White in the Woods

What captures my attention in this Van Gogh painting called First Steps after the Millet, is the subject matter itself. As you can see in the previous choices I made, the more vibrant colors are my favorites. Even though this is a lighter set of colors, it's a great image of a female child taking her first steps toward her father, while her mother guardedly releases her.

First Steps after the Millet

Here's a wonderful depiction by Van Gogh of the Gypsy lifestyle of his time. The colorful wagons and restful atmosphere makes me relax just looking at the image. Simple but powerful, as many of Van Gogh's great works are.

Encampment of Gypsies with Caravan

Another major part of my life has been fishing and water, and this fantastic painting of a man getting out in the early spring is compelling. The new leaves on the trees and bushes, along with that bridge bending down towards the water make a memorable impression, from the post-impressionist.

Fishing in Spring

As most people would probably confirm, it's almost impossible to choose ten of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings and list them as your favorites. I could easily garner another ten that would be very close to these ten. But in light of my interests and passions, these are among my favorites. What are your favorite Van Gogh paintings?


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    • HomerMCho profile image

      HomerMCho 6 years ago

      Vincent Van GOgh is a great artist. I love his works.Great hub!

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Great hub. I love Van Gogh's paintings. I really like the Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum. I wrote a hub that has some of my favourites...

    • profile image

      midnitessummer 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures. I like how you picked an artist that inspires you apparently. I found your article very useful :) Keep up the good work.