Courtyard of the Hospital in Arles -Vincent van Gogh, 1889

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Van Gogh is such a remarkable painter. To stand in front of one of his canvases, in the flesh, and imagine that he himself stood before that very canvas too, you can be transported back 125 years, through all that has happened between now and then, and sense him fussing over it, how he may have felt and thought, the way he looked at the scene vs the brushstrokes that represent what was there, or even if his mind wandered as he painted – was he getting hungry? Was it getting dark? How he may have felt about Theo, his family, acquaintances, or the general state of his life at that time. The more mundane and inconsequential his thoughts the more fascinating for me.

This is a unique power that only painting has, and is more palpable with a Van Gogh then most other artists. Whether its the legend that has grown around the man vs the actuality of him engaged in the simple act of painting, or that the work itself, objectively speaking, is simply some of the greatest ever made, there is really no experience quite like it.

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