“I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.”
Vincent van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890)
Today is Vincent van Gogh 166th birthday. While he was relatively an unknown in his lifetime, he is one of the most beloved artists of our time. He continues to inspire – not only for his amazing paintings, but for his understanding of the human spirit, of recognizing the need to belong within nature, to find contentment in sharing joy and love.
Vincent van Gogh is my third post in the ChasingART series, “Artists in the Garden” an exploration into the connection between nature and the creative spirit. Vincent van Gogh did not have a garden, but he created them wherever his adventures would take him. His journey was not for the faint of heart. Through many difficulties, his wisdom grew in strength.
“The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.”
Vincent van Gogh
Auvers-sur-Oise, July 1890
When Vincent van Gogh visited Charles François Daubigny in Auvers, July 1890, his first mission was to paint Daubigny’s garden.
“Because Van Gogh did not have any canvas at hand, he painted the garden on a red and white striped tea towel. He first covered the towel with a bright pink ground layer of lead-white pigment mixed with red.” Van Gogh Museum
In May 1888, Vincent captured the landscape of Arles, France, creating a spring garden of yellow and purple with houses in the background. A community surrounded by nature.
He particularly loved the contrast between the yellow and purple flowers in the fields. In the landscape, he felt he could see a reflection of the world he knew from his collection of Japanese prints. Van Gogh Museum
Field with Poppies, 1889 Saint-Rémy
In May 1889, Vincent entered an asylum in Saint-Remy.
“When he was allowed to leave the grounds of the institution at the beginning of June, Field with Poppies was one of the first motifs he decided to paint.” Google Arts & Culture
Vincent van Gogh created approximately 2,100 artworks, including approximately 860 paintings within a span of one decade, most of which were completed in the last two years of his life. He may not have been a success commercially, but his creative spirit endures.
While Vincent van Gogh’s artworks rank with the most expensive paintings to have ever sold at auction, his legacy is far greater. His gift to the world is found in his thoughtful and reverent understanding of humanity’s need to feel complete, to be at peace within nature, to experience and share a profound love that transforms our lives.
“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
Vincent Van Gogh