Note: To follow our trip to Amsterdam from beginning to end, choose The plans are made from the index at right.
From my notes the day we toured the museum.
Although I know a certain amount about Vincent Van Gogh, being here in his country of birth and in this building housing his work brings up all kinds of questions. Seeing the sequence and progression of his work I made some notes as we toured the museum. Most of them are more questions and observations. Like in a 1889 work when he needed red to complete a painting he signed his name "Vincent" in red. Was this just for the red or was he thinking about following another Dutch artist who is also know by his first name, who had recognition and success in his lifetime (although he did die penniless), Rembrandt? It also seems that the style he has become famous for began as he become more and more "ill" or should that be "inspired". Did he work and struggle so hard to paint in a representational way so he could reflect the lives of the people he came in contact with, that when he could not, because he was just not technically able it seems he became increasingly frustrated, "ill"? As his "illness" grew though so did his "inspiration" to "...translate black and white impressions into another language, that of color...".
So it seems to me that he really was at first trying to paint like the other Dutch painters of his time, and before, but he really wasn't technically, emotionally, physically or even maybe intellectually inclined to translate "that reality". Once the Potato Eaters failed to be recognized it seems he began thinking that maybe he should try a new way to tell the story. I think that The Potato Eaters was the second bridge to the style that we know him for today. The first bridge I think is the drawing the on first floor mixed in with all his more realistic works. It is a drawing with lines and spaces filled in with color.
As one of my favorite artists and one that I have drawn so much inspiration from I can also personally understand just how tired one can get with "trying" until one just lets go. Was it "illness" or "inspiration" that let him finally stop trying to be in both the world of realistic style and impressionistic style? It seems though that in the end he kept going back and forth and could not accept what he could do as "inspired" and not somehow incomplete.
I am sorry you did yourself in Vinny not knowing how very complete and inspired you were. Thank you though for all you left for us, and the testament of how we must look at our life in ways that completes and inspires us - rather than in ways that leaves us feeling less than we really are.
To be inspired and complete in oneself is the thing I thank you most for.
Now I must remember that.