Tag Archives: Vincent Van Gogh

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Portrait of Doctor Gachet, by Vincent van Gogh. June 1890. Private collection. Via Wikimedia. On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside two […]

The Potato Eaters: brushstrokes of sickness and sustenance

Jeanne Dsouza Manipal, India   Figure 1. Portrait of The Potato Eaters showing 5 members of a family around a table eating potatoes and sipping coffee, four of whom have skin eruptions and limb changes suggestive of leprosy. One wants to be an honest man, one is so, one works as hard as a slave but […]

Absinthe: the green fairy

Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing […]

Mental illness in art

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Corridor in the Asylum. Vincent can Gogh. 1889. Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is often said that creative art is linked to eccentricity, sometimes bordering on madness. Examples abound of great musicians, writers, and artists who at some time in their lives were deranged and often committed to institutions for […]

Food colors: a history of food in art and literature

Sayantu Basu Kolkata, West Bengal, India   The Colors of Feast: Still Life with Fruits, Nuts and Cheese  Floris van Dijck, Frans Hals Museum, Harleem, Netherlands “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.” This is how Voltaire upholds the significance […]

Letters from the asylum

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausol, Provence France After cutting off his ear, Vincent van Gogh spent a year in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence confined to a mental asylum. Despite several major relapses during his stay, he continued to work prolifically, completing more than 140 paintings including masterpieces such as Starry Night, Irises, and Almond […]

Hawthorne’s ‘The Birthmark:’ a failure to find a perfect future in an imperfect present

Sylvia Karasu New York City, New York, United States   In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark, 1 Aylmer, “a man of science” leaves the somber, factory-like atmosphere of his laboratory to marry the beautiful Georgiana.  Aylmer “had devoted himself, however, too unreservedly to scientific studies ever to be weaned from them by any secondary passion,” and […]

The peach tree

Roy Smythe Temple, Texas, United States   Souvenir de mauve, 1888 Vincent van Gogh Oil on canvas 73.0 x 59.5 cm In the hot Texas summer of my 77th year, my skin turned a little yella’, and I lost some weight. Doc Butler, who I’d been seein’ for ‘bout 30 years now, told me to […]