The Descent of Van Gogh

At the Van Gogh Museum
At the Van Gogh Museum

I think I first fell in love with Van Gogh because of Don McLean’s song Vincent. Certainly I didn’t fall in love with the man himself; he was not, by any means, a paragon. Yet who wouldn’t fall in love with someone who inspired such lyrics as these?

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with a Reaper, 1889 | Courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with a Reaper, 1889 | Courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum

And then there are the artworks themselves. I love how each brush stroke seems to be brimming with meticulous energy; I love how the colors are explosions of passion. I have always loved sunflowers and starry skies, but Van Gogh elevated them to a different plane of reality.

Mostly, though, I think I just love a good story, even a tragic one. The Van Gogh Museum — one of the highlights of my visit to Amsterdam — tells his story very well: his early life, his experiments, his struggles, his eventual descent to the dark sadness, his triumph that came a little too late. At the end, though it’s little consolation to poor Vincent, you feel you too can sing:

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me…

We’re all listening now.

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The Descent of Van Gogh” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.



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