Remembering Vincent Van Gogh, the genius…
Recently watched the animated film on Vincent Van Gogh. Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film. More than 60,000 oil paintings were painted by hundreds of artists to make the genius’ biopic. A remarkable task indeed!
Starry Nights, caffe terrace, blazing corn fields, wheat fields in the setting sun and under the threatening skies,, those flaming sunflowers, the swirling blue skies, olive trees and the tormented and enigmatic spirit of Vincent flash before your eyes on the silver screen. Roulin, Dr Gachet, Marguerita Gachet the lady at the piano all come alive on the screen. What a glorious tribute!!!
Sharing a few of his quotes, excerpts of his letters compiled in Vincent By Himself (letters that unfurl his thoughts on human life, art, his account of his own art) written to his brother Theo and his friends; also sharing photos of a few things we proudly possess as reminders of Van Gogh,
“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.”
“I dream my paintings and I paint my dream”
The Olive Trees~ Vincent painted around 18 of those ‘the venerable and gnarled’ Olive trees and found them demanding and compelling. He wrote to Theo that he is “struggling to catch (the olive trees). They are old silver, sometimes with more blue in them, sometimes greenish, bronzed, fading white above a soil which is yellow, pink, violet tinted orange… very difficult”
These little things scattered around our home are mementos of Van Gogh
Vincent wrote to Theo “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big”
A Starry Night (he called it a A Starry Sky earlier) was a view from his asylum window and one among his most popular paintings. Swirls of blue, the crescent moon, shining stars and the bright star bigger than the rest brought forth various critical analysis. Critics say that the painting could be an accurate depiction of a turbulent mind. Religious significance is also attributed to the painting. Critics also consider the aspect of mortality as well in Starry Night.
Van Gogh writes to Theo “Looking at the stars always makes me dream. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.” He considered that brilliant masterpiece a failure!
Wheat field with cypresses
Standing tall like the ancient monolithic obelisk
Van Gogh’s Sunflower series have become synonymous with the artist. He had written to Emile bernard that he’s thinking of decorating his studio with half a dozen paintings of sunflowers. His Sunflowers are symbolic of friendship and gratitude. Vincent created the paintings in less than a week in adverse weather and he wrote to Theo that from sunrise to sunset he had been working on it. He also felt that the sunflowers are his signature work as other artists are well known for their particular flowers. ‘…they are mine’ , he said. Vincent decorated his artist friend Paul Gaugin’s room with the sunflower paintings. Gauguin was deeply impressed and thought the paintings as ‘completely Vincent’. The series has a bunch of bright and vibrant blooms mixed with wilting and stooping ones with different background of turquoise, royal blue, blue green, yellow green and yellow.
The boldest of them all is the bunch of yellow flowers in a yellow vase against a yellow wall! An innovative affirmation that varied tones of the same colour can have an electrifying effect.
Wheat field under threatening sky with crows on T shirt
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
On his own state of mind he says “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”. A troubled soul who felt intensely, deeply and tenderly, whose unsurpassable originality, brilliance and masterpieces were not recognized when he was alive!
“A great fire burns within me, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”
”Well,well, there are moments when I’m twisted by enthusiasm or madness or prophecy like a Greek oracle on the tripod”, he writes to Theo.
Some more of his quotes…
“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it”
Vincent created poetry on canvas and paper. His paintings as well as his letters are brilliantly poetic.
Look around, don’t miss the beauty that surrounds you. Recreate that beauty, no matter whether you do it on paper, on canvas or by using your lens. I’m trying to silence the voice inside me that says I can not write.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”