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Vincent Van Gogh

I don't know when exactly I started appreciating art and artists, but this day made all the difference. A day at the Contemplate Art Gallery, Coimbatore taught me to see art with a perspective - my perspective and the artist's perspective. :)

I always thought that modern art was just a breakthrough and that it lacked the depth and expression of classic art. But, this documentary show organized by Contemplate and Konangal (film society) made me think otherwise. The hosts spoke about how art was related to modern day film making and how every film maker is considered an artist. Three documentaries were screened, all three about a legendary artist, who is apparently called the 'mad genius'. He is none other than Vincent Van Gogh.
 The first documentary was from 'Great Artists' by BBC's Tim Marlow. He took us through the life history and paintings of Vincent. Vincent Van Gogh is considered the greatest Dutch painter of all times. He successfully influenced the concept of expressionism in modern art. Some of his works, produced during a period of only 10 years, hauntingly conveys through strange forms the anguish of a mental illness that eventually resulted in suicide.

One thing that intrigued me most is that he was not only an artist, but a thinker. He wanted people to see his paintings, and see them beyond what was seen at first sight. About a painting - 'The Potato Eaters', he said "I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamp-light have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labour, and how they have honestly earned their food". Such was the depth this cultural legend depicted in his paintings.

But his life was a sequence of failures as he considered it to be, he fell unsuccessfully in love with a woman; the missionary he was with got rid of him, his paintings were seldom sold ( Would you believe that he sold only one painting during his lifetime?) and he was suffering from epilepsy and depression.

Picture source - Google Image search

Apart from the potato eaters, a few other famous paintings like 'The Starry night', 'The yellow house' and 'Still life- A case with 12 sunflowers' were also discussed. I will put up another post substantiating the intricate, incredible, subtly balanced paintings of Vincent.

The documentary ended with this note "The ride his art gives is, into the world and not away from it"
It made me wonder how a person so brilliant in his art cannot be so in his life. There is a rush of life in his paintings; he wanted us to relish the gift of life, the gift of nature.

I feel a great sense of admiration to this great artist, the cultural legend, the genius, and the one who signs his letters "With a handshake, ever yours, Vincent" :)


That's all folks! :)


  1. Van Gogh was a tortured genius. Among young people, he is more known for cutting off his own ear.


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