Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh is regarded as one of the greatest painters in the history of western art. He painted 900 paintings and 1000 studies in just 10 years before he committed suicide due to mental illness. Vincent van Gogh is known as an artist who did not succeed much during his lifetime and was only later known as one of the great painters. Usually people just know him from such masterpieces as ‘Self-portrait’ and ‘The Starry Night’, and that he had suffered through some gloomy days while he was alive. So, people may wonder, ‘Did someone exist for him in his gloomy life? Why did he cut off his ear and eventually chose to commit suicide? What artistic appreciation and anguish did Vincent experience? Let’s look into these points through the musical Vincent van Gogh.
The musical’s first chapter begins with Theo van Gogh preparing for Vincent’s exhibition about 6 months after Vincent’s death. The seting is 1891, Netherlands. Theo van Gogh is very sick because of his dementia. Nevertheless, if we see his effort in preparing for his older brother’s manufactory, we can guess from the first page how much Theo van Gogh loved Vincent. After the first page, the second page shows the night before Vincent committed suicide. At that scene, Vincent wrote a letter to Theo, and he is holding onto his hope in paintings for the last time. After the scene in the railway station, Belgium Bori-Naju, we know that Vincent did many jobs including bookstore clerk to odd jobs before he became a painter. He didn’t start painting with a dream of becoming a painter at first. Vincent informed Theo of the truth that it’s not easy to become a missionary and he will leave the coal-mining town. So, Theo suggested he draw some paintings. Vincent thought only the lives of paintings could save his life, and then decided to become a painter.
In truth, Vincent started to draw paintings on May 3, 1882. At that time, a lady of fate showed up to Vincent. Her name is Sien. Vincent felt a sense of kinship with her because she was poor and normal, and had many scars just like him. But she already was a woman with a baby. Vincent unilaterally notified his family that he was cohabiting with her and he would marry her. So Theo and his father strongly objected because Vincent’s father was a minister, and so he blamed Vincent for bringing disgrace to his family. Finally, Vincent couldn’t help giving up Sien, and he blamed himself in father’s house for treating himself as a dog in 1883, Netherlands. Vincent hated his father so much that he did not care about his father’s illness for a long time. Eventually, when his father died, Vincent deeply regrets and repents his past behavior.
After Vincent’s father dies, Vincent drew paintings with more ardor. In this process, he often thought of placing the soul into the painting and felt that the people in the painting were similar to his own life. Although he attended the Entwart Academy of Art in Belgium in 1886, Vincent painted after his own sensibility and personality rather than pursuing the techniques and formats of contemporary art. He didn’t want formal appreciation, and he thought the passion did not only come from technique. He heard the story that many artists were living on Klose Street in Paris so he sometimes worked on that street.
However, as the number of works increased, he had to borrow money from Theo, and his debts increased as time went by. So, he decided not to be burden Theo anymore. The famous painting ‘Self -portrait’ is not about his self-confidence, but about his lack of money to pay a model. As Vincent’s life grew worse, he suffered from alcoholism and mental disease. To improve his life, he called Gauguin, a famous painter, and worked together in his house in Aria, France, 1888. But Gauguin was fond of primitiveness and did not understand Vincent that is fondness for emotionalism, and finally left him. After Gauguin left Vincent, Vincent’s seizures and madness got worse. In 1889, he suffered from seizures and depression at the Saint-Remy Care Center in Arlene, France. Finally he cut off his ear, went to a wheat field and drew the last picture. And on July 29, 1890 he killed himself with a gun. On January 25, 1891, Theo van Gogh died, and they are buried side by side in Aubert.
Theo van Gogh who supported Vincent van Gogh and made him known to the whole world
Theo van Gogh is the younger brother of Vincent van Gogh. He exchanged so many letters with him over the years. Theo had always watched Vincent's world of art works more than anyone else so he could interpret and understand each of his works one by one. He also left all the letters with him and all his books. And decisively, he was the first person who suggested paintings to Vincent. When Vincent can't find satisfaction in his jobs, Theo helped him to go his own way. When Vincent struggled to paint his works after his father’s death, Theo helped him by catching flaws in his paintings and giving feedback to him. When Vincent felt distressed by his mental disease and depression, Theo always suggested that he take some rest. In other words, Theo was not only family but his good friend and a supporter. Theo van Gogh's role became more brilliant after Vincent's death. Theo tried to make Vincent’s exhibition with opportunities given by a master. So, he explained the piece 'A tinderbox' and 'A model crop' to people and represented Vincent’s situation because, at that time, Vincent was so poor that he couldn’t afford to buy a canvas and he had to paint the picture on it. Theo was the only person who recognized Vincent’s real story not just his paintings, as a strong supporter.
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