On a very hungover morning, I thought I would finally watch ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ as laying in bed watching a screen is about all I could do…
However, while I wallowed in shame I was unexpectedly VERY inspired by the film. It is about the last years of Vincent Van Gogh’s life. Exploring his relationships, isolation, psychosis and dedication to his art. Of course, Van Gogh is a very famous and well-known artist and I am not saying anything new and original, but I just wanted to share how much I am loving his biographical representations and art right now.
The movie inspired me so much that I immediately wanted to jump on the tube to the National Gallery and just admire his work in light of the context that I had just experienced. However, as I said, I was out of action for the day! But I did finally go to the gallery, it was ridiculously busy so I didn’t get the chance to take it all in but I suppose I was still satisfied. As you would guess, the movie isn’t wholly accurate as much of Van Gogh’s life is debated for authenticity, for example the movie alludes to a book of 65 sketches that were discovered in 2016 and it was a large controversy that the Van Gogh museum does not accept as authentic, as well as they run with the theory that Vincent was shot by boys and did not commit suicide. Also, understandably the movie must be dramatised for entertainment purposes, so definitely take it with a pinch of salt. But, it does present a close depiction of Van Gogh’s life and circumstances in the last years of his life.
The National Gallery in London displays 7 of his paintings:
- A Wheatfield, With Cypresses.
- Farms Near Auvers.
- Head Of A Peasant Woman.
- Long Grass With Butterflies.
- Two Crabs.
- Van Gogh’s Chair.
Out of the 7 artworks in the National Gallery, my favourite is either the classic selected work from the ‘Sunflowers’ series or ‘A Wheatfield, With Cypresses.’ Which I actually lean towards more. I’m not sure why, I think that it is the dreamy portrayal of the landscape that he painted a series of. The image is so aesthetically pleasing, mainly for the colour palette of pastel yellows, blues and greens. The swirls and thick yet soft strokes also appeal to me, I feel as if this isn’t as violent and desperate as some of his other paintings.
I am definitely almost illiterate when it comes to speaking about art in a historical or intellectual way but I feel like I am getting much better at appreciating more and more art. Especially with Van Gogh. What I find most interesting about him is his unimaginable connection and sense of unity with nature and how that seeps from his paintings. Both Willem Defoe and the idea that Van Gogh produced over 800 oil paintings and over 700 drawings in his lifetime (Britannica, 2019) I am completely in awe by his feverish passion for art and creation. He painted as if he would die if he stopped.
At Eternity’s Gate, Julian Schnabel. 2018