Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

I recently read a fascinating article in Smithsonian magazine's January, 2008 issue, entitled "Letters from Vincent".

Something which caught my eye was his lament that he had difficulty in creating from imagination, relying more on painting scenes which he saw before him:
Arles, c. April 12, 1888 My dear old Bernard, ....I sometimes regret that I can't decide to work more at home and from the imagination. Certainly—imagination is a capacity that must be developed, and only that enables us to create a more exalting and consoling nature than what just a glance at reality (which we perceive changing, passing quickly like lightning) allows us to perceive.

A starry sky, for example, well—it's a thing that I should like to try to do, just as in the daytime I'll try to paint a green meadow studded with dandelions.

But how to arrive at that unless I decide to work at home and from the imagination? This, then, to criticize myself and to praise you.
He was a great artist, living a tortured life. I wonder where he is now, and whether he is still painting.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure he is. Still somewhat tortured, but doing much, much better!

coolwriter said...

I would venture this: Vincent was far less "tortured" than simply murderously in love with colors. He painted what he saw - something many artists cannot do. He was "there," communicating what he saw. And he painted more than 2,000 paintings toward the twilight of his lifetime.
Yes, that's what I venture now. Perhaps, he has even found another medium; one that lends itself to the imagination more easily. IMHO -- Ron Kule