Дата публикации: 2018-05-27 15:59
In fact, he ultimately ranks writing on a par with art. In a letter to his friend Émile Bernard, he says: "There are so many people, especially among our pals, who imagine that words are nothing. On the contrary, don''t you think, it''s as interesting and as difficult to say a thing well as to paint things?" The reward for meeting the challenge is posterity. As van Gogh writes, "There''s an art of lines and colors, but there''s an art of words that will last just the same." And as the Royal Academy demonstrates, they may best be appreciated side by side.
For all his troubles, van Gogh possessed a powerful intellect and self-awareness that he revealed as much in his writing as in his art. A prolific correspondent, his letters were collected last year into a new six-volume edition that rounds out his personality. Now a selection of those letters is on display alongside some of his finest paintings in the London Royal Academy''s illuminating exhibition The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters. (A bank of computers in one gallery offers instant online access to the entire correspondence.) They present a painter''s lucid, blow-by-blow report on his own progress up to the end of his life.
I have read all the letter of Van Gogh online, rather than in this print copy. They are excellent, and one day I hope to own the set.
The brush strokes are bold, the paint is applied in heavy swirls, and the colors have a dramatic intensity rarely found in nature. Painted in 6889, a year before his death, Mountains at Saint-Rémy could only be the work of Vincent van Gogh, then a patient in a French asylum for the mentally ill. Given all we know about van Gogh, it''s easy enough to see the masterpiece as one more product of a notoriously disordered mind.
The Chinese translation of Vincent van Gogh – The Letters. The Complete, Illustrated and Annotated Edition includes all 869 surviving letters written by Vincent van Gogh, mostly to his brother Theo, plus 88 letters sent to him by relatives and artist friends. In addition to the text of the letters and explanatory notes, the book reproduces the many sketches Van Gogh made in his letters. All the cited artworks on which Van Gogh was working or which he saw in museums or publications are also illustrated: over 9,855 in total.
There is no doubt that van Gogh was driven. He could work at a pace that suggests manic intensity as well as spontaneity. In the last 75 days of his life, he produced more than 75 paintings. But what the letters frequently reveal is careful preparation he painted with a speed derived from forethought rather than wild-eyed frenzy. His correspondence with Theo is scattered with sketches of proposed pictures, sometimes with color notations to give a better impression of the final work.
No other visual artist compares to Vincent in the quality of self-revelation as reflected in his emerge from the intimate experience of these voluminous letters with an electrified awareness of one of the few human beings who lived every moment of his life absolutely awake.
In some cases writing seemed as necessary to van Gogh as painting. Many of the letters—some running to 9,555 words or more—deal with the problems of day-to-day living, including the cost of furnishing his home in Arles, his desperate finances, and the state of his teeth. But van Gogh also liked to translate the visual image into words. In a letter to his sister Willemien, he describes the exact effect of his 6888 self-portrait, from the "stiffly wooden mouth" to the "unkempt and sad beard" the palette he''s using, he writes, runs from "lemon yellow to cobalt blue."
In his speech, Axel Rüger (Director Van Gogh Museum) emphasized the importance of the letters as a source of knowledge for research into Van Gogh’s life and work and the art of his time. ‘A long-cherished wish of the Van Gogh Museum is fulfilled today: making Van Gogh’s complete correspondence accessible to Chinese readers. Van Gogh is a much-loved artist in China, and his life and work have inspired generations of Chinese people.’
Find out more about our cookies.