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Vincent’s Faith

February 11, 2023

[Vincent van Gogh, as seen recently in the Wall Street Journal rendered here in italics, and as seen by an embarrassingly adolescent version of myself]

A full appreciation of Van Gogh requires an understanding of his faith. 

— My parents wanted to take me the St. Louis Art Museum in January of 1970. —

Van Gogh wasn’t a religious painter, at least not in the mold of Michelangelo, Raphael or Caravaggio, who often portrayed scenes from the Bible.

— I was, uhm, let’s see, maybe a polite word would be petulant. —

His most celebrated works feature flowers, fields and self-portraits as well as innovations in bold color and coarse brushwork, creating canvases that appear both dashed-off and sublime.

— To rip a great quote of John Wesley’s entirely out of context, “I went reluctantly.” —

They were poorly appreciated during his life but have fueled his popularity ever since, captivating modern scholars and casual fans who flock to the “immersive” shows that seek to enhance digital images of Van Gogh’s art with music and motion.

— There was some kind of special exhibit of stuff by a dead Dutchman, which they of course knew was a big deal, —

Adding an element of intrigue is his personal story of madness, self-mutilation and suicide.

— Suffice it to say, my parents were right and it was only the beginning of a lifelong fascination with, and love of, Vincent van Gogh, his work, and the complexity of his faith.

[Learn more about Vincent and his faith from whence cometh these quotes

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