I got this copy of George T. M. Shackelford’s Vincent van Gogh, The Painter and the Portrait from The La Belle Aurore Bookshop in Cebu. I love Vincent van Gogh. I don’t claim to know him any better than all the others (and I am no connoisseur); I may in fact like him as a matter of course, as everybody seems to like van Gogh. I can’t help but be enthralled by him. The life he has lead and the struggles he has gone through, it does not exactly paint a pretty picture. Melancholia is not pretty (I know this myself), but with him, considering the work that has come out of it, one can’t help but wonder. Not wonder with a question mark, but wonder with an aspiration to know, to glimpse at the kind of genius that produces the kind of amazing work he has produced. But most of all, the feelings, the movement of emotions within such a man. I have this book of his letters to his brother entitled Dear Theo. What I have read so far has given me a view of Vincent the Man, of his mundane day-to-day struggles. Of course now he is this great man, a household name, whose work is replicated and recognizable to many. Okay, I’m running on and on. I did say I was enthralled by him!
About the book, it contains the portraits he has painted. I loved the colors. The pictures are really raw, I think, raw to the point of being almost scary. But then again, that is part of the beauty of van Gogh’s work. He has a style peculiar to him alone. I’m remembering this movie How to Steal a Million. Charles Bonnet (Hugh Griffith), who makes fake copies of the masters’ works, was finishing this painting and the following lines were exchanged between him and his daughter Nicole Bonnet (Audrey Hepburn):
Charles Bonnet : I doubt very much if Van Gogh himself would have gone through so much trouble.
Nicole Bonnet : He didn’t have to. He was Van Gogh!
I found this very funny. 🙂
This song by Don McLean is one of my favorite songs. It’s entitled Vincent for the painter and the lyrics aptly start with “Starry, starry night”. I think it is a really beautiful song and has a really beautiful melody.
By the bye, Vincent is my favorite name for a male. 🙂