Art is to be relished and not to be explained, the reason according to me is that there is a certain internal ambience at the point of reception of a work of Art. That ‘internal ambience’ is made up of one’s knowledge, feelings, mood, proclivity and the serotonin levels of circulation in one’s brain.
But there are works of art which not only startlingly attract us, but keep us occupied with the associative thoughts related to that work of art or that of the artist’s.
Very few artists have had their feelings expressed in words like Vincent Van Gogh. His epistolary saga with his brother Theo is intense, sincere and open to the point of raw vulnerability.
His paintings in ‘China blue’, those bright yellows, twirling strokes and day-to-day themes are his trademark but there was something more to his works. Those were the stories which were built around his Life. A Life, not merely reduced to the somber ending – which is the case with most humans, but lived VIBRANTLY and INTENSELY. Who could have had a distraught moment with another posthumously exalted great artist like Paul Gauguin which led to Vincent’s earlobe being chopped off by Gauguin and yet never implicated another genius to the objectives of the Arles criminal justice system?
How about that myth that Van Gogh presented his chopped off lobe to a prostitute with whom he was in love‼️
All these facts which the art historians are floating from time to time cannot be verified and proven with indelible accuracy. They were lost without a trace and yet we are weaving our ‘facts’ and our earlier generations had woven their ‘facts’ too; and when we were naive we believed as if they knew best and we learnt it from them.
Despite all these vortices of facts there is a painting of Van Gogh with a bandaged ear with a look in his face, which I wonder how a self portrait painter could have captured and reproduced.
Was that traumatic look in his eyes and the wrinkles on his face the pain of the ear or was it the loss of his friend Gauguin, is left for our imagination.
Van Gogh made me see art in the common things of life. His ‘infatuator’ Gauguin had rightly said that all art was either plagiarism or a revolution. Van Gogh’s paintings are a Revolution. They elevated common things and people around us and brought out that ‘timbre’ or that ‘thisness’ to each item or person he painted.
How can we abandon the myth that Van Gogh cut off his own ear and presented it to a woman whose profession did not allow her to be ‘chaste’ to his love?
How can we allow facts that Van Gogh did not commit suicide but was murdered? That takes away the heroism of a man who had been burdened with oscillating sanity. To be murdered as an ending to an artist like Van Gogh is not befitting. Caravaggio, yes. A street brawler, yes- but a sincere, sensitive and intense soul should be given the power over his own life.
How can a movie like “At Eternity’s Gate” destroy such a powerful ‘fact’ which I believe?
The movie is supposed to have opened to excellent reception in Venice and due in the USA in mid November.
I’d hate to see a movie with that ending. What a pity, that the factmakers want to destroy Vincent even after his death. Allow the dead man his dignity of having taken his own life and let us keep him in the company of the Alpha males like Hemingway.
September 6, 2018