Brilliance and Darkness


The brilliance of Vincent Van Gogh is palpable in his paintings. Literally: his exuberant brush strokes give his canvasses a rough, passionate texture. This and his often riotous use of color lead many people to believe he was an artist who painted purely on impulse. Yet upon visiting the Van Gogh Museum — one of the foremost reasons I wanted to travel to Amsterdam — I learned Van Gogh was actually quite meticulous, always experimenting on techniques, and that his painting style had actually evolved over periods of time before becoming that for which he is best known.


Wheatfield With Crows
is one of his last paintings, created on the same month he died. Though the wheat stalks are still a vibrant yellow, the sky looks ominous, as do the crows in flight. Shortly before dying of a gunshot wound, believed by most to be self-inflicted, Van Gogh had told his brother, “The sadness will last forever.”

It is incomprehensibly tragic that such brilliant men as Vincent Van Gogh and Robin Williams would live such tortured lives and, in the end, come to be devoured by darkness. I like to think that whatever hell they may have found themselves in, at the end, someone will come to try and rescue them and, failing to convince them to leave the dark valley, will choose to stay there with them till the end of time.

And thus lift the curse.

Brilliance and Darkness” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved, including the right to apologize — that I hereby exercise — for the horrible photograph of the Sunflowers painting.

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