I have in my hands a book that’s heavy with history and insights, and while it’s my job to tell you about it, I feel small in comparison to the subject of the book. He’s more than a person. He’s an icon. So I bring you today’s blog post with a humble bow to Vincent van Gogh, in honor of Ever Yours: The Essential Letters. It’s a collection of his correspondence that gives all of us a better understanding of his life, his challenges, his journey and his destiny.
Perhaps for the first time, I see van Gogh as a living, breathing person, instead of a historical figure. For in the pages of Ever Yours are pictures of some of his actual letters. His handwriting and spontaneous sketches breathe with life.
He writes to his brother:
My dear Theo,
Herewith a scratch of the selling of soup that I did in the public soup kitchen. It takes place in a large hall where the light enters from above through a door on the right.
I re-created this scene in the studio. I put a white screen in the background and on it I drew the hatch in proportions and dimensions it has in reality, with the furthest window covered and the lower part of the middle window covered. So that the light falls from P. Just as in the place itself.
As you see, when I have the figures pose there, I get them exactly as they were in the actual soup kitchen.
Above you see the positioning in the studio. I’ve framed the area to be drawn…
Vincent (On or about Saturday, March 3, 1883)
Ever Yours is edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker. Imagine almost 800 pages of van Gogh’s letters, in your hands. It’s extraordinary.
Tell me, what would you say to van Gogh? Please share what your message to him would be in the comments section on this blog post.