Van Gogh’s Birthday and the Triumph of Passion

“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

I think the first time I’ ve met with him, it was just an another ordinary day. He was wearing blue suit and looking quite unpleasant because of what surrounds him. I was inside of that unpleasant scene while he was covered with his secured blue.

Self-portrait, 1889

After I left Musée d’Orsay that day, I felt like my hands were blurred with Van Gogh’s blue. And it was not possible to clean up.

I started to follow him more closely and I was more fascinated by his dedication to become a painter than his paintings.

I feel a certain calm. There is safety in the midst of danger. What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? It will be a hard pull for me; the tide rises high, almost to the lips and perhaps higher still, how can I know? But I shall fight my battle, and sell my life dearly, and try to win and get the best of it. “

When I looked closely to Van Gogh’s life through his paintings, drawings and his letters to his brother, I was captivated by his determination, creativity and madly passion to express himself by building his way. I could say in time this became a personal thing I have about him. There are many great artists but Van Gogh is the only one who I can sympathize with myself.

Van Gogh’s late discover of himself and his passion did not stop him to achieve what he longs for. He really dedicated himself to do painting. He practised a lot on drawings and colors to reach his technique in painting by acknowledging his deficiencies.

“I’ll start with small things.”
“I now consider myself to be at the beginning of the beginning of making something serious.”
“I’ve just kept on ceaselessly painting in order to learn painting.”

Here is his color box. He prepared it with colored ropes to practise on color schemes.

Van Gogh’s box for color scheme

If you look at his work, you can see many of them are dark and depressed drawings and paintings. When he met with the art dealer Alexander Reid, he told him to paint more colorful so that it would be sold. And Van Gogh paints Reid’s portrait in a very colorful way. Even though you are passionate to do something and you want to do it in your way, it just does not go like this. The general opinion hits you in the face as a reality does. So, the creative differences emerge when that edge is challenged.

“Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no — just let me be myself — and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.”
“I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort — and disappointment and perseverance.”

Portrait of the art dealer Alexander Reid,1887

Van Gogh’s self-awareness was boosting his passion. His letters to his brother Theo are strong proof of that. Actually, the best way to describe what Van Gogh really achieved as an artist can be found in Henry Miller’s remarks on The Letters of Vincent van Gogh in his book Tropic of Cancer.

letter by Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, Arles, c. 21 November 1888

Beside the perfection of Turgenev I put the perfection of Dostoevsky. [….] Here, then, in one and the same medium, we have two kinds of perfection. But in Van Gogh’s letters there is a perfection beyond either of these. It is the triumph of the individual over art. (31)

And so, it is not just the birth of Van Gogh , it is also birth of the triumph of one man’s passion.

*All Van Gogh quotes are taken from his letters via http://www.vang

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