Sunflowers and Starry Nights

Have you ever seen the works of Vincent Van Gogh? I don’t mean in books or magazines. I’m talking about the experience of standing in front of an actual Van Gogh painting. It’s breath-taking. Truly.

I was fortunate to see a collection of Van Gogh’s works on exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum several years ago.  If you ever have the opportunity, take it. No matter how many times we see his paintings in the media, nothing compares to seeing them in person.

Van Gogh has been on my mind lately. It began last week when our family sat down for a game of Masterpiece. Eight-year-old Mark immediately recognized the artist’s likeness in the center of the game board and launched at once into the ear-cutting story. Kids are fascinated by that sort of thing, you know.

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard,...

Self-Portrait, Spring 1887, Oil on pasteboard, 42 × 33.7 cm., Art Institute of Chicago (F 345). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the last few days, it seems that everywhere I look, I see reproductions of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings:

Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers

Van Gogh planned a dozen “sunflower” paintings to decorate the studio he shared with Paul Gauguin.

Starry Night.

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on can...

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on canvas, 73×92 cm, 28¾×36¼ in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. He was a post-impressionist painter whose work influenced 20th-century art. Van Gogh’s paintings are noted for their brilliant colors and the emotions they evoke.

Throughout his life, Van Gogh struggled with mental illness. He made little money from his painting and was virtually unknown at the time of his death. He died in France on July 29, 1890, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Biography Channel: Vincent Van Gogh – Alienated Artist

As for me, I am rather often uneasy in my mind, because I think that my life has not been calm enough; all those bitter disappointments, adversities, changes keep me from developing fully and naturally in my artistic career.”    – Vincent van Gogh

For a lighter look at Vincent Van Gogh, pick up Starry Night, the movie.

Silly, yes, but fun to watch. It’s in our family movie collection.

It’s sad to think of how he suffered in his lifetime and how little recognition and reward he received. We look upon him now as one of the greatest artists who have ever lived. I wish he could have known.




6 thoughts on “Sunflowers and Starry Nights

  1. Thank you for the mention in this great post. BTW, your reblog about the birds of Rhiannon got my attention too. I studied the First Branch of the Mabinogi for my Welsh A-level, and it’s in the first branch that Rhiannon appears. There is also a Welsh pop song called “Adar Rhiannon”, I’m trying to remember by whom. It was released in the 1980s and I have it on vinyl somewhere.

    • The feeling you get when you stand in front of one of his paintings is really hard to describe. The colors are so vibrant… so much more than when you “see” his paintings in a book or on television. I was awestruck. I hope you do have an opportunity to see his works someday. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s