Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! I realize that for many people, this is a date to look forward to.
There's another March date that I tend to remember, though--the 30th. On that day in 1853, Vincent Van Gogh was born. He lived only 37 years, at the end of which he took his own life, but he remains a significant name not only in the art world, but in popular culture. Van Gogh is in many senses a mystery, but one that his beautiful and distinctive art makes people believe they can solve.
One of the many theories I've read about Van Gogh and his distinctive vision (which of course in his own time was not appreciated) was that, because of his addiction to absinthe, he tended to see a yellow glow around objects. I have no idea whether or not this is true, but I find it fascinating in light of the way that so many of Van Gogh's paintings look. Art buffs, art history critics--any truth to this random bit of information?
In any case, I think about Van Gogh now and then, always with great sympathy, because he had such talent and yet never sold a painting. Although I don't claim to have his demons, I, along with all writers, can certainly understand what it is to struggle with one's art and one's vision.
In his famous song about Van Gogh, Vincent, Don McLean sang of the torment and passion of a great artist:
"Now I understand . . . what you tried to say to me; and how you suffered for your sanity, and how you tried to set them free--
They would not listen, they did not know how; perhaps they'll listen now."
McLean also sang the line "This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."
But I think Vincent had a special place in the world, and continues to reside there.
(art link here)
Here's McLean in 1979.