Monday, November 16, 2009

Van Gogh, we love you.

Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh
1888, Oil on Canvas, 81 x 65.5 cm 

Okay, so I realize that I said I was going to write about Bosch, Donatello, and Hogarth, but like any artist would- I changed my mind. Oops. Last night as I was trying to go to bed, it hit me... I haven't featured Van Gogh! What the heck is wrong with me? Van Gogh is thought to be one of the greatest artists of all time, right up there with Picasso, Warhol, and even Michelangelo. His contributions to the art world are monumental as his ideas contirubed to the progression of art in huge ways. 

What hurts me the most is to think that Van Gogh had a terrible life. No one appreciated him, no one took him seriously, and on top of all that he suffered tremedously with a bunch of mental illnesses. He had depression, so much so that it drove him to take his own life at age 37. I wish I could go back in time, find him, and say, "I love you Vincent!" I mean he killed himself right when his creativity was rising. All the great Van Gogh's everyone knows were painted during the last two years of his life. Imagine if he lived a great and long life, how many more great pieces he would have created!

Cafe Terrace at Night is one of my favorite Van Gogh's. Sure Starry Night is amazing, but Cafe Terrace at Night appeals more to me, perhaps because I my fixation with coffee culture. What strikes me the most about this piece is of course the lighting. It's just so quaint. Who can deny the beauty of France? Van Gogh took a scene that is so charming and calm, and made it a beautiful time piece. Now, Cafe Terrace is of course a huge tourist site. This also bothers me. Arles, the city where this Cafe is, is basking in wealth due to Van Gogh. They have created quite the tourist tour, where you can follow Van Gogh's footsteps. Cool? Yes, but also sad. They hated Van Gogh, and now they are making billions off of him. Poor Van Gogh, well at least people respect and honor him now. 

If you have never seen a Van Gogh in real life, for the love of everything, go find one! I am sure you have heard of his brushstoke technique, but seeing a Van Gogh in real life brings his technique to life. I love to stand in front of a Van Gogh and imagine him restlessly blotching paint on a canvas with frustration in every swipe. I try and stand as close as I can, literally like face to face. It's just so amazing. Though the security gaurds usually hate this, I love it because I always imagine Van Gogh doing the same thing. Van Gogh staring face to face with his canvas, wondering if the world will ever appreciate him. Van Gogh staring face to face with yet another creation that will sit on the floor of his room. Decades later, I stare at a Van Gogh and stand amazed. 

Van Gogh, we love you.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, what the heck is wrong with you taking so long to feature Van Gogh, are you nuts!? You even quote him on your facebook page. Well you choose a beauty for sure. I love this painting also. I can hear the clinking of the tableware and the murmur of the patrons enjoying the evening air. While it may seem sad to think of Vincent's mental illness as something unfortunate, I believe it's what added intensity and color to his view of the world. And along with many, many other talented greats of this world, he left while still relatively young. Sometimes it seems they are not meant to live long. They burn bright, then burn out. People like Mozart, George Gershwin, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean....just to name a few.