What happens if they put in child head that you are a substitute for a dead brother? What happens if your feelings are overwhelming and your linguistic and motor expressions are less than what makes people feel your highness and ensures effective and joyful communication? What would happen if your original inclination to freedom, asceticism, austerity and giving collides with the authoritarianism of the clergy and the inertia of the academics? And does the biography of those who considered him mentally ill discourage us from learning from him and seeing in him the dignity, giving, authenticity and liberation that deserves admiration?
Vincent Van Gogh was born with the same name and birthday of a brother who died a year before his birth, so the parents considered him a substitute child, perhaps he was the same for them, they were conscious of such an idea to alleviate grief over the death of their first child, and perhaps they began to believe that God compensated them, and they repeated this in the tales for Vincent as a child , implanted onto his unconscious mind, without realizing that each individual seeks to be himself, and not an alternative or image to anyone, as we live to achieve ourselves, not to master or wrestle with what represents another, otherwise we would not abandon the conflict between instinct and The artifice, between what we are and what they expect of us, and so unconsciously Vincent’s inspiring life and immortal artistic production were a reflection of the struggle between the great hope of life and the despair and grief of a mentally ill person who ended his life by suicide.
At first he wanted to be like his father; a religious man, and he had great hopes, but as a preacher he was not trained in expressing what was burning in his chest, to stir the emotions of the listeners, and motivate them. He gave most of his clothes and food to the poor miners, so his asceticism and generosity aroused the ire of the church representatives, who expelled him, and he lived for a poor and austere period. He even later joined the Academy in Antwerp, but left it after a month, dissatisfied with the teachers’ strictness. His revolution against molding his talents was in defense of the originality of freedom and the right to creativity and innovation.
In addition to his internal psychological struggle, the struggle with representatives of the church and art teachers was not only his confrontations; This tendency for freedom and the desire for appreciation that led him to clash with the institutions, is the same as what hit him with emotional setbacks, the most important of which is his uncle’s refusal to marry his cousin whom he loved, so much so that he tried to burn his hand by placing it over a torch in protest, so that his uncle responded to his desire to meet the beloved, and so on. To that extent reached the inflamed emotions! And to that extent, his revolution and strength of will reached! The result was astonishing; He did not marry her, and chose to live with a prostitute, a decision that made him loose one of his friends and supporters, but it was an inspiring decision for his artistic production, perhaps because it agreed with his free, rebellious nature and his kindness to the marginalized.
In any case, these violent societal clashes may have begun psychologically with the idea of a substitute child, and in the family with the strict father and cruel brother Theo, his financial partner, and with the uncle and friend of the traditional cousin, and socially with the representatives of the church and the academy. On the contrary, kindness and generosity were the nature of his relationship with the poor and marginalized. His paintings were about peasants, workers, and the simple, and even contemplative about his impressions of nature and his psychological communication with the significance of the interactions of its elements that reflects his feelings and vision, and makes him tolerate his loneliness as a stranger not understood in his world.
Van Gogh Was Influenced by the writings of British George Eliot and Charles Dickens, by the study of theology, ancient languages and mathematics, by the Impressionist and wild painting schools, and by the reflective color method used in Japanese wood-panels, Impressionism lends itself to its techniques of depicting his reflections, and brutality, with stark colors and exaggerated shapes , providing an opportunity to express his wild and rebellious feelings, and the reflected colors show a tendency to enlightenment and wisdom. Vincent has lived in Belgium, the Netherlands and France, preferring later on to live in the countryside than in the cities.
Among his most famous paintings are “Sweet Potatoes Eaters” and “Starry Night”, as well as portraits and natural scenes of meadows, orchards, roses, buds and snow that reflect the nature of his feelings and even his bedroom, and he tended to use light colors when he lived in the middle of nature.
Although he married and had children, his love life otherwise witnessed violent turmoil; In addition to his attempt to burn his hand for his insistence on marrying his cousin, and his residence for a while with a night girl, a neighbor who was in love with him tried to commit suicide by poison, and the psychiatric disorder extended to his relations with his family and friends, so even before his suicide by shooting, a part of one of his ears was cut off. He also fell into depression, and was hospitalized due to a previous episode of mental illness. And the last thing he wrote was, “Sadness lasts forever.”
His life thus was an effort to prove the merit of his uniqueness and his rebellion against family, social, emotional and institutional molds. His life was a rebellion against his misery and failure, with fine true sensations, full of deep generous giving With obligation to his feelings and beliefs, flooding with kindness and compassion and with an unbridled desire for self-realization, so he fought relentlessly against a society that did not understand, and frustrated him until he committed suicide, for he is himself, and himself with distinction, not the alternative.
But timeless art made later generations try to understand and honor, the famous singer Don McClain produced his wonderful song called Vincent, as an elegy with sober melody and deep words that explain his personality through his artwork, manifested in the dazzling colors of nature, despite the shadows sometimes reflected by the cold wind clouds on the soft snow of the meadows, and how the paintings of dead nature and the wretched persons reflect Vincent’s feeling of isolation despite his human progress farther than his society and his attempt to free it from its stagnation, but then they did not listen to him well, he wonders, he wonders The song wonders if the world of today understand it, and explains how the sparkling flowers represent the brilliance of Vincent’s soul, and how Vincent’s loving feather shows the pain in the face of those who work in their field of green vegetables, and the condition of the simple who find nothing to eat but sweet potatoes, and those who pity the sorrowful, but also his bedroom in which he was lonely, in a society that did not understand him, and did not reciprocate love with him, despair due to his passionate love, and on a night shining with stars like his famous painting, he committed suicide, because his world was not suitable for his beautiful soul. The song deals with those frameless portraits of unknown people on empty walls, they are eyes that watch the world, and do not forget, and that stranger in his shabby clothes whom Vincent met and painted, and the silver thorn of the bloody flower broken on clear ice, does it reflect his strength and his brokenness together! Has the harvest turned out to be his solitude, and that the world may never understand him!
Vincent, due to his introvertedness, shyness, and strength of emotion, did not improve expression in language, movement and behavior, perhaps, but he was better at thinking with his lines and expressing his feelings with colors, shades and shapes. .
A painful story, but it reconsiders an artist and a human being with all his sense, tyranny and brokenness, he wanted to enlighten his society with all his being, so his fate was mental illness and suicide. Understanding and consideration, their message, even if it fails, may one day light the way to a more humane and liberated world, more aware, sensitive and loving, more compassionate and tender.