As regular readers will be aware, I have been a van Gogh fan since my yoof, and I have consumed a lot of text and documentaries and lectures about him in the last couple years.
And I'm not alone, studying his life and work is a whole industry, and every year *millions* of fans travel physically and internationally to visit his solo museum in Amsterdam, from every continent. I mean, it's just crazy.
So I've been trying to figure out what it is. I mean, his work is generally quick and rough compared to other masters, and that's not normally what people like.
It's clear that his story is a big part of it. His letters are unique, no other artist have revealed that much of themselves. And the letters are beautiful and thoughtful and intelligent.
And in him people find inspiration. He suffered much, as many of us feel we do, and he loved life and art and spirit with a passion which burned bright like the sun he often included in his paintings. He was an outsider which many of feel like sometimes. And he never gave up despite enormous obstacles socially, financially, and health-wise, which is inspiring.
But none of that would have been of *that* much consequence if his art had not also been unique.
For one thing it burns with the same joi-de-vivre that we feel in his life and himself. It's just obvious. Elan. Spirit. Joy. Love. Passion.
And here it is: there is just something about his compositions which no other artist that I'm aware of has. It's an energy, a power, a TENSION. The whole picture plane and its elements is held together with an invisible forcefield. There is a great pressure to expand and a great pressure to compress at the same time, with all the elements held in stasis.
Does that make sense? Well, I had to try.