Art and Aesthetics in Action
Written by: Professor Severyn T. Bruyn


Vincent After Himself

In a letter to his brother [607], Van Gogh wrote about making copies of art done by other artists.

People always say that we artists should compose our own works, and be composers only. Very well; but in music it is not like that – if someone plays Beethoven, he adds his own personal interpretation – in music, particularly in singing, the way a composer is interpreted is an art in itself, and it is by no means necessary that only the composer play his own compositions. Very well; but at present, being ill, I want something that will afford me a little pleasure and consolation. I take the black and white of Delacroix or Millet, or a black-and-white copy, as my motif. And then I improvise in colour. But do not misunderstand me – this is not altogether my own, I am trying to preserve memories of their pictures – by the remembering and the approximate harmony of emotionally registered colours (even if they are not quite the right ones), are my own interpretation.”

Vincent After Himself
Vincent After Himself

The colors of Vincent van Gogh are deep in contrast and show intense radiation. Are these colors a projection of van Gogh’s own emotion? Or could they be more as well?

Could they represent a greater movement of color in the universe, alive in him?

A Peasant After Vincent
A Peasant (After Vincent)

I try to catch the spirit of Vincent’s work with peasants.

I live with Utter Terror so much that I have to make it my friend.

Everyone must experience terror at least once life. I think Terror lies hidden within all of us, waiting to be acknowledged.

Edgar Allen Poe said he experienced “Nameless Terror.”

While in Holland Van Gogh put his whole heart into becoming a peasant painter. “One has to risk one’s all in Art,” he said.  To fit in with the gaunt figures that were in his surroundings he went about unkempt, slept on straw and contented himself with crusts of bread. “When I say that I am peasant painter, I mean it quite literally,” he said to his brother.

While in Paris, he wrote to Lievens,

What can be achieved here is progress, and whatever on earth that means, it is here. Anyone who is living in settled circumstances elsewhere would do well to stay where he is. But adventurers such as myself lose nothing if they put more at stake. Especially as what made me an adventurer was not free choice, but Fate; nowhere do I feel as much of a stranger as in my own family and fatherland. [Letter 459a],

On the Road

Vincent (After himself)

A Peasant (After Vincent)

A Sea of Fire

Flying Colors

A Close Up

The Descent

A Quaker Arbor

The Horse on a Hill

Amaryllis Alone

Roses Rapping

Frames of Arborvitae

Good Morning

Lovers on the Farm

Bass Rocks at Gloucester

Satyagraha: A Meditation