Standing before the canvas' of Vincent van Gogh

July 25, 2020

 

It has taken me 51 years and my second trip to Amsterdam before I have understood and learned to appreciate Vincent.

 

As a student, I had zero time for art. I spent my mind in the pursuit of science, then medicine, then ophthalmology.

 

Slowly, with professional experience gained, though still little work-live balance time: a trickle stream of art induced happiness becomes a river of enjoyment.

 

I recall once thinking, probably as a teenager, that the paintings of van Gogh (some chap who in turmoil infamously cut off his ear?) - were rubbish. I suppose a lot like his contemporaries, we didn't understand.

 

So on my journey of learning whilst on holiday: through the movies, At Eternity's Gate, A Lust for Life, Loving Vincent; Wikipedia, a BBC documentary; Andy Smith's Vincent The True Story life & places retrace; Don Mclean's Starry Starry Night song of celebration; Dr Who bringing Vincent to the the Musée d'Orsay in Paris 2010; and visits to The Kroller-Muller Museum & the Amsterdam van Gogh Museum.

 

Long after other artists' attempts to re-create reality, somewhere between impressionism before him & expressionism which followed - I think van Gogh uniquely captured what I will call 'heartism'.

 

He was deeply touched by the beauty of nature. In triumphant fervent brush strokes, his painting emboldened that which he saw and wanted us to also attempt to see.

 

How moving it is to look upon his canvas work as he did.

 

The highly intelligent and complex Vincent I suspect suffered from bipolar disorder. He found his freedom and joy in a fast confident painting style - which he wanted us to experience - but sadly neglected himself. In life, only Theo his loving brother seemed to truly support him. How I look forward to now reading the letters.

 

Vincent, with a hearty handshake. The battle and toll of art in ten years of a short and troubled life ending too soon at 37. As for the many others you have touched: 

 

you have won me over...

 

 

...and made both yourself (and my daughter) cry empathetic inspirational tears...

 

.....may you rest in peace.... & continue to paint in heaven.

 

[With grateful thanks to the video creators of my favourite selection: kontrasz, 991bigjohn, and mdragon1801; and of course all original artists, historians, musicians, writers & actors who keep Vincent's memory alive.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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