The singular Vincent Van Gogh, "Bedroom at Arles", 1889 (the third version he painted), now on display at theDetroit Institute of Arts, courtesy of the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, France. Photo courtesy of the Musee D'Orsay.
Yesterday I got to spend a few minutes alone with one of my most favorite painters in the whole world and one of his most compelling images.
It's not just his imagery that I find so compelling. It is his voice, his ideas, shared so honestly in letters to his family and friends, that drives my infatuation (if you are so inclined, please read The Yellow House - it will change your life).
Van Gogh wasn't the first artist to feel as though hecouldn't capture the essence of a subject in his work. But he was one of the first to paint more than a mere likeness. He took reality, our shared reality, and infused it with his emotional energy. Some of his feelings we immediately connect with, like the awe of a vast and starry night. Others are a little more difficult to fathom, like the tortured brushwork inside his later self-portraits.
And this painting, this room, this is the space where he fought with his demons, not just literally while painting (which he did multiple times), but literally while he lived there. Beyond depicting the details of his surroundings, the painting summarizes the struggle any creative soul has with their inner critic or muse. And it simultaneously brings along the promise of a new day, another chance, a clean slate.
Sharing the same space with this painting brought me to tears (and The Princess quietly moved to the back of the gallery, giving me a chance to collect myself). And a full day later, I am still light headed.
I am proud to be an Art Geek!
Living With Van Gogh
I love Van Gogh so much that I've painted two VG-esque murals in my home - one on the ceiling of the front porch (pictured above, inspired by his Starry Night) and another on the floor of the back porch (pictured below, inspired by his Irises).
They remind me to make more time to savor the color and majesty of our world.