Van Gogh's Misery and Music

Written by Jill Saur 10/16

Several hours before my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I read a letter that Vincent wrote to his brother, Theo (below). How ironic that Vincent considered himself a nonentity in the eyes of most people. Fast-forward to today and people flock to the museums to see his work.  

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.” - Vincent Van Gogh

At the museum, I stood transfixed as I gazed at Van Gogh's work.  In 1887, three years before his death, Vincent completed this sunflower painting (photo above). I became lost in the texture, the colors, and the feeling of this transcendent piece.  

I love Van Gogh.  I love that despite his misery, he was able to tap into the pure harmony and music within his soul to create incredible beauty.  Undoubtedly, he felt his very best when he was able to express himself with brush and paint.  I relate with Van Gogh on this deep and personal level.

The best wines come from grapevines that are grown in the poorest and rockiest soils. When the grapevine struggles, its roots grow deeper, where they ultimately find natures best nutrients. I think Van Gogh's miseries, touched with his genius and spiritual inclinations, created the profound beauty we see in his paintings today.  - Jill Saur

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