Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh sold only one artwork during his life; but today, his work is some of the most recognizable paintings of all time. The legendary Dutch artist is known for his colorful depictions of the French countryside, sunflowers, starry nights, and his emotional self-portraits. His art—along with the tragic stories of his turbulent personal life—continues to fascinate art lovers all over the world. One of those people is Iranian cartoonist Alireza Karimi Moghaddam. He’s the maker behind an ongoing comic series dedicated to illustrating the life of Van Gogh.
Although Van Gogh’s life had a bitter ending when he died by suicide in 1890, Moghaddam’s work focuses on showing how the artist’s life was “all about beauty and love.” His vibrant, graphic illustrations show the famous painter enjoying the nature that inspired some of his best known works. In one illustration, Moghaddam depicts Van Gogh admiring a field of irises, and in another, he draws him sitting in an almond blossom tree.
Although many of Moghaddam’s charming illustrations give an accurate representation of Van Gogh’s life, some of his images offer a more fantastical narrative. He often depicts the artist hanging out with Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, despite the fact they lived during different times. “[Frida Kahlo] is an artist who has experienced many sufferings in her life, just like Van Gogh,” says Moghaddam. “Since Van Gogh was almost without an emotional partner during his life, I introduced Frida to Van Gogh's life to make my stories more interesting.”
No matter the scene, Moghaddam renders his illustrations to mimic Van Gogh’s iconic painterly style, complete with layers of short brushstrokes and swirling motifs. He hopes his comic series will continue to keep the legend of Van Gogh alive. “I believe my words are in fact the words that Van Gogh wanted people to hear,” he says. “But I also try to respect him and his art. I consider it as my duty.”
Check out some of Moghaddam’s Van Gogh-inspired illustrations below and find even more on Instagram.