What fascinates me much, much more than anything else in my métier is the portrait, the modern portrait . . . I should like to do portraits which will appear as revelations to people in 100 years time."
- VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890
What could be a more disturbing image than the one of Vincent Van Gogh as the wanderer? Of his time spent in poverty and isolation he sought to help those around him, and perhaps to find himself in the process. Picture Vincent as he gives his first Sunday sermon in Isleworth, outside of London. He was so passionate about his beliefs, but never really connected with the religious world. His sermon must have really been something.
Van gogh traveled to Brussels on foot to seek counsel from Pastor Pietersen at the evangelical college. He had no more than the a few sketches and the clothes on his back, but he needed guidance in his overwhelming desire to help others. Van gogh’s wanderings were not always religiously motivated. Another great image was when Vincent walked 70 kilometers to Courrières, France to see Jules Breton, a painter he admires. When he reached Breton's house, Vincent was too timid to knock.
Although Van gogh is known for his insanity and his close relationship with his brother, his relationship with other people is fascinating as well. His relationships with women are very captivating. The three main women in Van gogh’s life were the prostitute, Sein, and his cousin, Kee.
Van gosh and Sien are both portrayed as lonely and desperate people. For some time, however, Van gogh and Sien brought some happiness into each other's lives. At the same time, Sien has always seemed fairly cold. Is it true? Maybe not--there's little bona fide information available about Sien, about her life and her feelings. What happened to her after she parted from Van gogh? It is said that she remarried but eventually committed suicide by drowning. She played an important role in Van Gogh's life.
There are many single events, which stand out in Van gogh’s life (the ear-cutting is, of course, the one that most people are familiar with). Another specific moment find is when Van gogh confronts the parents of his cousin, Cornelia Adriana Vos-Stricker (Kee). Van gogh’s love for Kee is unrequited, but he won't be turned away. Van gogh argues unsuccessfully with Kee's parents and then, in order to prove his determination, holds his hand over the funnel of an oil lamp, intentionally burning himself. Kee's father quickly defuses the situation by simply blowing out the lamp, but nevertheless it's an incredibly powerful image.
Here is another crucial point in Van Gogh's life. He was a passionate, often eccentric artist. The idea of Van gogh arguing art theory with other painters in Montmartre is a very strong image, but one of the most powerful and moving images come from his time in Arles. Here is Van gosh: deeply hopeful that his dream of establishing an artists' community in the south would soon come true. One of Van gogh’s most...