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Sunday, 27 June 2010

My Heroes (27) : Vincent van Gogh


"And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me."  Genesis 39:7

It is known that Vincent van Gogh was deeply religious but it is not known for certain if the eleven stars in this iconic painting are a merely a coincidence. The artist, who only ever sold one picture in his lifetime, was true to his beliefs his whole life through. No artist has ever displayed the passion that he was able to do on canvas.
"They did not listen, they're not listening now. Perhaps they don't know how."

20 comments:

Alicia said...

No wise comment here, simply appreciation.

Mimi Lenox said...

Brilliant!

Mr. Stupid said...

Very beautiful. That's a great piece of art.

bazza said...

Alicia, Mimi & Mr Stupid: Sometimes, I think less is more. I find this piece of art and it's story so moving it's hard to write about it. One need say no more!

David said...

Dear bazza,
I also love Vincent, and while "The Sunflowers" has become somewhat over-used, Im glad you chose this brilliant painting to illustrate his genius.
It is also a well-known fact that he suffered from some kind of mental illness (not helped by the copious ingestion of Absinthe), probably bi-polar disorder. Indeed, many attest to feeling and being more creative during "manic" phases of their illness. Just thought you might like to know this, but being you bazza, you probably already do.
Yours with Very Best Wishes,
David.

bazza said...

Lots of the 19c French painters overdid the absinthe. I suppose it was their cocaine! Thanks for the interesting viewpoint. I agree that the Sunflowers is over used.

joanne said...

i love this post... one of my favorites of yours... I see a man falling in love over and over again, with the sky, with nature, with observation itself... like a Sufi being drunk with love for the divine, capturing details as only a lover could capture of the object of his affection...

I could paste quote after quote from Van Gogh, but two that stand out from among his letters...

"My only anxiety is what I can do... could I not be of use and good for something?...And in a picture I wish to say something that would console as music does."

And this...

"What has changed is that my life was then less difficult, but as to the inward state that has not changed. If there has been any change at all, it is that I think and believe and love more seriously now what I already thought and believed and loved then."

klahanie said...

Hi bazza,
I have much admiration for van Gogh. His passion does indeed sing out from the canvas.
'Starry Starry Night' by Don Mclean is now swirling through my mind.
With respect, Gary

Alicia said...

I assume you've read Lust for Life? The fictionalized biography of van Gogh by Irving Stone? If you haven't, you should!

bazza said...

Joanne: Thank you for that lovely and informative comment. Those two quotations beatufully sum up and underline the theme of my brief post. Thank you.

bazza said...

Gary: Isn't that a wonderful song? This picture is, of course, Starry Night, one of three on this theme by van Gogh.

bazza said...

Alicia: No, I have not read Lust for Life but I have seen the film, which gave Kirk Douglas his best acting role. There is not much need to actually fictionalise his life; it was so dramatic as it was!

Kelly said...

Amazing painting. Now that one does make me feel something. It does invoke feeling of dreams and being inside that atmosphere. Very cool. I have stared at it for awhile now. Kinda takes you away.

bazza said...

Kelly: You can, of course, double-click the picture to see it large-scale. I love looking at this painting too. I don't think one needs any kind of background knowledge or special art-history lessons to really 'tune-in' to it's beauty as you seem to have done!

rob said...

As you know today Saatchi gave his art collection to the nation. I heard someone on the radio saying that what is fashionable seldom stays so...the works that last are usually ignored in the artist's lifetime. Sadly this seems to have been Van Gogh's fate too.

Thanks for sharing this and I find myself warming to your words "no artist had ever displayed the passion that he was able to do on canvas.

Btw I have the sheet music to that song. An unusual subject for a pop song isn't it?

bazza said...

Rob: It's a pity Saatchi didn't donate his collection before he sold the best bits! That huge tank of oil should be donated to the USA maybe?
I would rate the song 'Vincent' as more than a pop song and, unusually, the lyrics can almost be read as poetry.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Vincent said...

Unfortunately your image link is broken. I checked the Wayback Machine, no luck but presumably it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night#mediaviewer/File:Van_Gogh_-_Starry_Night_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg & would be nice to see the link fixed.

I wish I had discovered your blog a long time ago, I used to follow several of the commenters who are no longer around these days. Glad you are!

bazza said...

Hi Vincent. I don't know why but I can't seem to fix that link, but obviously your presumption is correct!

Vincent said...

It's a dead link, that's why. I find them on my blog too, having made the mistake to link to another site instead of copying the picture and keeping control of it that way. Wikipedia is reliable, but other sites just pack up. Sometimes you can go to Wayback Machine and rescue the precious image, keeping your own copy somewhere, like your own webspace or picasaweb.

And whilst on technical recommendations, here's another. Sometimes you want to link to an image but you'd like a better version, or a bigger one, or one that doesn't claim copyright on a watermark that appears across it. You can use TinEye to find the URL of other copies of the same image.

But apart from that, I enjoyed the post very much and the comments thereon.

bazza said...

Thanks Vincent. That's great advice. I fully understand what you're saying and will begin to work that way in the future!