In my humble opinion, no artist fits the bill of denied more than Vincent.
For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.
– Vincent, by Don McLean
In my very honest opinion, I did not find Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings all that great, but rather very melodramatic with some childishness in it. However, I am absolutely fascinated by his painting techniques and the way he used colours and the strong and dynamic strokes, it is fiery with passion. Yet those equally strong undertones of sadness makes me very ambivalent about how I truly feel about his works. Yet again, it was probably also because of the immense unresolved sadness in him that fuelled this passion to paint and paint and paint in search of the outlet to find a way of venting or expressing himself. And it was also probably because of this abysmal attempt to face himself in context of the world that he kept trying and trying and trying to break out of his own box, and we (the great commoners who have so let him down) get to reap the benefits of all his wildly exploratory techniques long after he killed himself. I could feel the struggle in his paintings, and it is painful. It is emotionally very painful to watch.
When it comes to childishness, I feel I am absolutely raw and childish when it comes to emotions. I hardly know what emotions are, if not for Theta, I would not know any more emotions than angry, frustrated, stressed, happy, relieved and relaxed, I did not even know what sadness feels like.
Just looking through Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in books and magazines, I used to tear. We scheduled our transit in Amsterdam to be a full day so that I could spend that amount of time in the Van Gogh Museum and immerse myself in his works. I was well-prepared with tissue paper to soak up the tears. My very understanding Dad went off on his own to visit happier things like flowers and cheeses, so I had the space to face my own sorrows in face of Vincent’s.
In a way, my sorrows could have been an extension of his – a life passed and a life now. I will blog about this story when I am more ready. All in divine timing.
Anyway, so indeed, I cried and cried and cried as I walked from gallery to gallery. At the same time, I could feel Brain rolling my Eyes out – they are just drippydrappy squiggly drawings of sunflowers or whatever scene! But Heart knew better. It was cathartic though, there was sooo much pain rolling off me. The unresolved entrapment inside a perspective that collides with the physical universe. My poor dear Vincent, I am so sorry.
Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they’re not listening still.
Perhaps they never will…
You taught me to look beyond societal (or popular) definitions of what constitutes “good” or “not”, and to feel beneath for the depth of what has been “categorically” placed under “no good”. Regretfully, I am still trying hard to break free from what societal trends feed us.
Thank you for opening me up to the world of emotions – the scary “iffy” part deeply hidden within me that I never dared to even brush against. It was only through you, that I finally allowed myself to feel the emotions so denied of existence.