Brian Schumacher - published on 05/08/23.
In the everyday lives of everyday people Van Gogh saw a latent vivacity begging for expression.
Years ago a friend posed a question I’ve struggled to answer ever since: Why go to an art museum when you can look up the paintings online?
Today, I finally found the answer in the Van Gogh exhibit. It was well composed, and they spared no effort to make the viewer feel fully immersed in the world of Van Gogh. Not only did I feel a tangible connection to the man through seeing the paintings he himself painted, but I was able to better see his brilliant use of color with each individual brush stroke.
That said, I left the exhibit with another question to ponder. Dispersed throughout the paintings were numerous quotes and facts about his life. One which I found to be particularly poignant mentioned Van Gogh’s love for the land and its people, especially those engaged in manual labor. He saw them as individuals “illuminated by … a religiosity that sacralized the humility to daily toil.”
In the everyday lives of everyday people Van Gogh saw a latent vivacity begging for expression. Through his brilliance with a brush he was able to express it in a manner that was both new and lasting.
One of these “everyday people” was the Sower with a sack hanging from his shoulder, he cast seeds into the field. The “action” of the painting is simple enough: a man doing his job. But why was I so arrested by this simple action? What was it that fixed my attention to the painting? Certainly I didn’t think it was the most impressive painting — and yet — there I was, staring at it.
It would be fair for one to describe the painting as dreary. The color pallet is drab with its use of blue and gray. Even the sky, which is not cloudy, is also not bright. The only thing I saw, however, was vibrancy. The man is dressed in the colors of the world around him … he doesn’t appear to be working so much as dancing … and though the sky isn’t bright it seems to be cheating toward sunrise.
The man isn’t doing his job, he’s living his vocation, nurtured by the very earth he manipulates. Captured in one moment on canvas is an entire drama played about between man and the cosmos.
Van Gogh was graced with the eyes to see the beautiful in the ordinary. He shared his vision with me personally when I saw that painting in real life and in real time. Because of that interaction I now ask myself frequently what dramas do I see unfold everyday that I merely dismiss as ordinary?
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When Jo was 28, she lost the love of her life. Her husband Theo van Gogh died, leaving Jo behind with their baby son and a flat full of artworks by his brother Vincent.
In the years after Theo's death, Vincent van Gogh's work became world-famous. That was largely thanks to Jo. Why was she so committed to Vincent's art?
Jo and Theo had been together for less than two years when he died in 1891. She suddenly had to provide for herself and her son, who was still a young baby. And what was she to do with the hundreds of Vincent’s paintings that Theo had left to her?
Theo always sought to raise public awareness of his brother’s work. Jo wanted to fulfil this wish, in memory of her husband.
She moved from Paris to the Dutch town of Bussum, where she opened a guest house. Bussum was home to many writers and artists, whom Jo became acquainted with. They were able to help her find her way in the art world.
Jo was smart. She organized sales exhibitions to boost the visibility of Vincent’s work. This helped pique the interest of potential buyers. She made many strategic sales of the artworks: to collections accessible to the public, and all around the world. This meant that as many people as possible could see Vincent’s work.
In 1905, Jo pulled off her most significant feat to date: the largest ever retrospective of Vincent’s work, held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. More than 480 artworks were on display. Following this exhibition, the prices of Vincent’s work rose rapidly.
More of this story located at:
Check out a few of our favorites such as Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings of Sunflowers, Cafe Terrace at Night and Starry Night.
The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition https://www.immersivevangogh.com/Immerse yourself within the Starry Night painting and it will calm your soul and strengthen your Spirituality.
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“To do good work one must eat well, be well housed,…..and drink one’s coffee in peace” ~Vincent Van Gogh