Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Van Gogh self portrait

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Vincent van Gogh[edit]

Voting period is over. Please don't add any new votes. Voting period ends on 27 Aug 2014 at 03:01:52 (UTC)

OriginalVincent van Gogh, Self-portrait with pipe, 1886
I think it's very easy to over-emphasize the super-colourful van Gogh. This is a very good picture, it's subdued, it's relatively realistic, but it still has all the energy of van Gogh's style. It's very easy, with some artists to turn them into caricatures of themselves. So, to keep us a little more grounded, how about a very different self-portrait of van Gogh?
Articles in which this image appears
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, Self-portraits by Vincent van Gogh, Cultural depictions of Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh Museum, Vincent (opera), Vincent van Gogh chronology
FP category for this image
Let's put the relatively realistic depiction under Wikipedia:Featured pictures/People/Artists and writers.
Vincent van Gogh
  • Support as nominatorAdam Cuerden (talk) 03:01, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose (regretfully). It's certainly calm and assured and valuable on that account for the reasons you put forward. The trouble is that you search in vain for a context for the portrait in Wikipedia. In most of those articles, the portrait has been selected for identification purposes and in the only article Self-portraits by Vincent van Gogh where you might seek EV, it's been passed over bar placing it as an early portrait. At least the Commons file should provide context, as I did at Commons:File:Vincent van Gogh - The Old Tower at Dusk - F40 JH507.jpg for the recent Christie's sale. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 07:51, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Identification purposes is a valid use of an image of an artist. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:14, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Well I'm sure it is. But that is at the whim of editors, who are generally allowed their personal choices. But this not Crazy Vinnie as we and all our mums know him. We do all know the real Vincent with the bandaged ear and staring eyes. You are quite laudable in the reasons you give for featuring the portrait and as I say I support them, but in vain will the reader find any of that in the article links - that in a few of his earliest Paris portraits he seemed uncharacteristically in command of himself. Except he wasn't. Not really. He had come down from Antwerp where he had suffered a breakdown. His teeth were falling out and he was worried about his personal appearance. Within six months his self-portraits betray that familiar haunted look we know so well. For this portrait to have real EV that should be written up in the articles somewhere (and there's also the question of its technical brilliance that should be mentioned and set in the context of his very far from promising start as an artist). At the moment it's not, and that's why I'm opposing. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 12:31, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I share COMC's concerns, but also echo that this is a regretful oppose, as I really like the work. Perhaps if it was the lead image used for identification purposes in the main Vincent van Gogh article I'd support, but, unsurprisingly, a more famous and recognisable self-portrait is used. J Milburn (talk) 15:40, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm somewhat inclined to make this the lead image on his article. The more famous work does a much poorer job at showing what Vincent looked like, as it's a lot more abstracted and loosely-composed, and it's probably not even the most famous (I'd say "Self-portrait with straw hat" is more commonly seen, and better composed). This portrait is far better for identification purposes. Adam Cuerden (talk) 07:50, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree to a certain extent, but the lead image also serves the purpose of showing the artist's style- questions may be raised about the extent to which this one does that (I'm neutral on the issue). I'm going to have to keep my oppose for now, but if the image is stable as a lead image for a few months, I would probably be prepared to support then. J Milburn (talk) 16:21, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
But should an identification portrait really showcase the artist's style? It could be argued that an identification portrait should have as little 'style' as possible, really, if it in any way detracts from the accuracy of the portrait. Would we use Pablo Picasso's self portrait to identify him? ;-) Ðiliff «» (Talk) 23:57, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
I certainly have some sympathy for that view- I'm just reporting what I understand to be standard practice with painters. Whether or not we like the practice (I have no strong opinion, and see the merits of both sides) it's going to effect stability, and so we have to be aware of it. J Milburn (talk) 00:10, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Support: For the encyclopedic value alone and the fact that this already exists in multiple English Wikipedia articles. I personally think this is the better image for the Van Gogh article, but that not being the issue decided here at the moment, I vote support for this image. Fylbecatulous talk 17:18, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
It is generally regarded as van Gogh's first self-portrait. The fact that it's not mentioned in the letters is the best indication it and a number of others at the same time date from the Paris period (the brothers having no cause to correspond as they were living together). It's an extremely accomplished portrait, surprisingly so when compared with the life studies he had made at the academy in Antwerp just the year before, but it is frankly rather pedestrian otherwise. He was dressing himself in city clothes at the time to stress his middle-class background, perhaps hoping to restart a conventional career as an art dealer. Marc Edo Tralbaut (his principal biographer) valorises F208a much more from this time, and in fact chose it at the dusk jacket picture of his biography, saying of it that Vincent has laid himself bare. And of course he's quite right. F208a is an absolutely magnificent self-portrait, incomparably better than F180 nominated here. Why don't you just try substituting F180 at the van Gogh article? I strongly suspect the long-suffering expert editors there will give you pretty short thrift for your trouble. (talk) 22:02, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Ugh. The Vincent Van Gogh article is full of the sort of people who'll change the lead image without warning, then hurl abuse at you if you don't like their undiscussed change, and insist you discuss your change, but not their shitty change. Seriously, I hate the current lead. I think it's easily the worst of Van Gogh's self-portraits, and the long-standing Self portrait with a straw hat lead image is far, far better. But only they have the right to undiscussed changes. Adam Cuerden (talk) 02:06, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Naughty Face-smile.svg ... I don't edit there myself, but it's an excellent article. I think IP above has it about right. I'll try and get a better image for F208a, maybe add at a bit at Self-portraits by Vincent van Gogh, but that's a big topic. As for your nomination. I can understand your motives, but it's really not characteristic of his work, even his saai Dutch period. (CoMC abroad) (talk) 07:06, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

'Withdraw I think I'm going off doing anything with van Gogh on Wikipedia. Adam Cuerden (talk) 02:07, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

  • That's a shame, I was intending to support it (although obviously it would be better as lead if you could get that past the article cabal!). But I suppose getting two opposes makes it very difficult to recover from, as convention then dictates that you would need a further 6 support votes for it to clearly pass. And given the low participation levels at the moment, that's probably unlikely. *sigh* Ðiliff «» (Talk) 09:02, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • As far as works of art, I think it quite possible that low levels of participation might well have something to do with getting nominations past any cabal that may or may not itself exist here, not to mention a certain bemusement as to what the project actually means for work of arts - I mean quite what the point can be. I do take umbrage at "recover from". So long as opposers give cogent reasons for their opposition, their input should be respected. It's a bit rich that photographers who will oppose on the basis of a single blemish cry fowl when the visual arts groupies stake a claim. We do know this painting F180 (imagine!) It's very derivative of work by John Peter Russell, whom van Gogh had met in Paris and had formed a friendship with. Perhaps you don't know it, but our Vinnie was a quite insufferable companion; anyone who did take him seriously for a while likely to be lauded and praised to the sky by him (same thing Gauguin, and you can notice the same sort of tendency in a certain class of Wikipedia editors it's worth adding I think). Really it's quite uncharacteristic of van Gogh. And there's no cabal at the van Gogh article. Just a group of enthusiasts defending their own against the world and their attack dogs. (CoMC) (talk) 11:09, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I think you're being a bit sensitive. I'm not sure why you'd take umbrage at the words 'recover from', because it was used in terms of a successfully supported nomination requiring a significant change in the voting pattern, both in momentum shift, and in total supports votes required. The word 'recovery' would seem appropriate for this kind of turnaround. That's the context I used it in, so I don't understand how it could be controversial. I don't claim to be an expert on the artwork itself, but I don't think I necessarily need to be to have an opinion on how the image is used as for identification, because I believe the artist's style (as I mentioned earlier) is secondary to how faithful it is to his likeness. It may be not be representative of his broader work, but I don't think it needs to be in this context. I'm not, however, suggesting that I should barge in and make the change in the article single-handedly either, I'm deferring that judgement to those article editors involved. Ðiliff «» (Talk) 12:14, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • You did sign off with a *sigh*, which I take to be unwritten wikiquette code for *dick* ... There is policy or guidance somewhere to the effect that identification pics for artists should be self-portraits wherever possible. I should have thought that implies "representative" as well, but right it's open to debate. But F180 truelly is not representative. He had come to Paris, sick and undernourished from his deprivations the previous three years. He had grown a moustache to hide his unsightly broken teeth (he had had ten extracted in Antwerp) and was endeavouring to establish himself as a conventional artist (in truth his own artistic tastes were decidedly conventional, none of that impressionist nonsense for him thank you), going as far as to join an atelier (master-classes run by established artists). But he was ridiculed by his fellow-students, forced to seek company from foreigners like Russell. This self-portrait belongs to that period when he was trying to establish himself in a conventional way, a period lasting less than six months. I can't see it's a good choice for identification purposes, nor worth featuring for its EV. F208a a quite different proposition. But I can't find a good image of it. The Van Gogh museum is supposed to be the holder but I can't find a page for it, nor is there a Google image. That might well mean they're worried about its provenance (it was discovered in 1952 in the cellars of the Stedelijk, apparently stored there by Vincent's great-nephew Willem). I'll email the VG about it and if possible get an image and write it up in time. Best I can do genuinely constructive here. (talk) 13:31, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I think you need to take a step back and stop reading into things so much. The *sigh* relates exclusively to the sentence that it follows; the lack of participation in FPC at the moment. It had nothing to do with any of the art politics (of which I'm not even involved!) that you seem to be so bristled by. In any case, I'd be interested to see this policy. But even if there is such a document, that doesn't mean that my opinion is overruled by the policy. We're all entitled to discuss and debate conventions as they apply to the subject in question because policy is not always right, and it doesn't always apply to all circumstances. I'm not convinced that a self-portrait is going to be more representative than a portrait by another artist, because we know very well that we as human beings are more biased towards our physical appearance, both negatively and positively, than we are to others generally, and may not necessarily portray ourselves as accurately as would be deemed necessary for an identification portrait on an encyclopaedia. I'm not saying there is no place on Wikipedia for self-portraits by any means, but I just don't think you could rightly argue that they should take precedence. If it is suggested somewhere, I would argue against it as an overarching policy. Ðiliff «» (Talk) 13:55, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Happy to take your word for it. I think I may have been guilty of misquoting the artist infobox template. You're quite right about discussing policy, but really this is not what's at issue here. There is currently a discussion about the lede image at the van Gogh article. I gather it was agreed to ring the changes from time to time. For myself I'd stick with the bandaged ear, the one from the Courtauld with a Japanese print in the background into the bargain Commons:File:VanGogh-self-portrait-with bandaged ear.jpg. The Courtauld is another museum currently making high resolution images available. I'll try and get a better, but pass on laying it on at van Gogh Face-smile.svg. (talk) 14:20, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Articles which are unwelcoming to new editors are a real pain to try to do anything to improve, so I just don't think it's worth it. Particularly when the edit summaries include accusations of bad faith, just for suggesting a different change to the one made three days previously. [Anyway, if they want to ring the changes, why not just use a randomly selected lead image? It's trivial to code.] Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:05, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I suspect the van Gogh article has had more of its fair share of new editors over the years. It's an extraordinary phenomenon this van Gogh thing. I often muse on it. He's just got to be the world's favourite painter, but he was such a total complete loser in life and god only knows what kind of a Wikipedia editor he would have made if it had been around in his time, though to be fair he kept his personal issues out of his letters. I have to confess if I was editing at van Gogh I would reverted your substitution with a request to take it to the Talk page. But you shouldn't have been made to feel unwelcome if that was so. Anyway I must sign off here. I'll be back, but perhaps not quite so frequently. I'll probably ignore most art work nominations unless I really feel moved to intervene. I do generally like the "own work" nominations though, always happy to support there. (talk) 18:27, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
  • As an editor who has cast a vote here, I suppose I can have a stake in the matter. I have just commented on the article talk page: [[1]] to request a new discussion to gain current concessus for an image. There is decidedly a tone of article ownership there, which is one of my pet peeves. Fylbecatulous talk 13:53, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Although I do have an interest in art, I'm far from being an expert, so I don't often vote at Featured Picture nominations. I've read the entire discussion here, and I thought I'd add a few thoughts about possible reasons for lack of participation:

  • The use of abbreviations for terms that you all must understand, but may not be clear to newcomers, like "EV" and "VG"
  • Frequently jumping from topic to topic, from the merits of this particular portrait, to the appropriateness of the portrait, to the painter's life story, to the editing history of the article, to a speculation on the intention behind another commentator's word, to the availability of high resolution images, to threats to stop participating,... It would be nice if the discussion were a bit more focused and organized.
  • Including distracting emotional reactions and comments, and veiled and not-so-veiled criticisms of other editors:
  • you can notice the same sort of tendency in a certain class of Wikipedia editors
  • then hurl abuse at you if you don't like their undiscussed change, and insist you discuss your change, but not their shitty change
  • I do take umbrage at "recover from".
  • Using phrases such as "ring the changes" (I had never heard that expression before) and "cry fowl [sic]".
Just saying... Instead of learning something so that I might be able to participate in the future, I was totally confused. CorinneSD (talk) 18:36, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Points taken... however, I thought EV was a term used fairly commonly throughout Wikipedia, meaning 'encyclopaedic value'. It's also explained in the Featured Pictures Criteria. I'm not saying that every participant should have memorised the criteria or should be aware of every relevant acronym, but neither can it be said that it's secret code for something. You could always chime in and ask what the certain acronyms mean. We don't generally bite the newbie for asking a genuine question. The meaning of VG seemed fairly obvious in the discussion (to me, at least) to be the Van Gogh Museum, which had been mentioned by its full name in the previous sentence. Otherwise, yes, of course it would be nice if the discussion was more focused, but when there is some confusion about something, it rightly should be clarified through discussion... I noticed that the German Featured Pictures project has two separate sections in each nomination. One for the votes, and the other for 'discussion'. This would at least separate the two, and may be a better way of arranging the nominations, but I'm not sure it would necessarily keep things concise as you wished for. You mentioned some of the things that put you off participating, but how would you change FPC so that it is more inviting/informative for new participants? Most of the criticisms you had were directed towards the discussion itself and the criticisms made by individuals, rather than the process itself. Given that changing an individual's behaviour/demeanor is not necessarily without the responsibility of FPC, and we will probably always have some participants that are frustrated, angry or just discordant in nature, what could improve the things you mentioned above? Ðiliff «» (Talk) 19:39, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, perhaps more of an effort to make it clear what is being discussed at any one point in a long discussion. Perhaps an arbitrary section break now and then. Perhaps adding a question in bold like: Which is more important for the lead of a biographical article, that a painting be representative of a painter's work or that the painting depict the artist accurately? Perhaps making an effort not to go off on tangents. I'm sorry, I had not seen EV before. I figured out "the VG" meant "the Van Gogh Museum", but "the Van Gogh" or "the VG museum" wouldn't take much more time to type. Other than that, I really don't know. I would like to point out that something made Adam Cuerden not only withdraw his nomination but write, "I think I'm going off doing anything with van Gogh on Wikipedia", which is too bad. I don't know if that was only due to what he perceived was going on in the Van Gogh article, or not. CorinneSD (talk) 01:01, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Not Promoted --Armbrust The Homunculus 05:58, 27 August 2014 (UTC)