Vincent van Gogh, “Autoportret w słomkowym kapeluszu” (1887)
Vincent van Gogh is one of those artists who unrecognized during their lifetime have become legends after their death. In case of some of those artists one might wonder if it was not their legend that triggered their popularity more than their talent, but it would be totally unfair to say so about van Gogh. And it would be insulting as well.
Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest Dutch painters of all times, right behind Rembrandt van Rijn. His art has greatly influenced the XX century arts, but it was never really appreciated in his lifetime. One might say that Vincent’s art went pretty much unnoticed. It might be that he didn’t live long enough – he died at the age of 37, and sold his first (and only) painting a few months earlier. It might be that he was too withdrawn and he couldn’t (or maybe he just did not want to) stay close to people who might be helpful for his career. It might be that his fate was determined by his mental illness, even though today not all experts are so eager to admit that Vincent was suffering from bipolar disorder as they were a few decades ago. It might be that…
Van Gogh can be discussed endlessly, his biographies are breathtaking, and different versions of stories about his life and death don’t help in getting a clear picture. All this lets the legend strive, but next to the legend there are van Gogh’s paintings. “The Starry Night”, “Cafe Terrace At Night”, “The Bedroom”, “Red Vineyards at Arles”, and many dozens more. They are telling a lot about the artist, as they show scenes and places from his life as he was experiencing them himself. In our times, when it is so hard to divide art from commerce and artists too often are painting what sells rather than what they feel the genuineness of van Gogh’s works cannot be overstated. Creating in line with one’s feelings is something I have always valued really highly, and if the results are of the highest artistic quality… You just cannot not love such art, can you?