||[Jul. 20th, 2011|12:24 am]
So last night Jerry and I watched the episode of Doctor Who that has Vincent van Gogh in it. (I was feeling emo yesterday, so we watched TV for comfort and managed to get the episode of Glee where Kurt and his father have some really heartfelt scenes, and then that episode of Doctor Who, so... yeah.)|
Anyway, it's a gorgeous and heartbreaking episode that has basically nothing at all to do with the tangent I'm about to go on here except the idea that van Gogh could see things that others couldn't. I was looking at his wikipedia page, and especially in his later works, there are these swirling brushstrokes in the background that suggest a curling movement of the air itself, and looking at some of the paintings of cypresses, I thought, my, isn't that Lovecraftian.
Imagine that his unique artistic style, especially in his later works, reflected an ability to literally see things that were invisible to normal sight. Maybe his terrible madness was caused by seeing Things Man Was Not Meant To Know, his drinking and substance abuse an attempt to blot out visions of eldritch horrors. And his death by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest... well. Maybe he wasn't aiming at himself, but at Something Else. Something... within.
If anybody needs a Call of Cthulhu plot seed, there ya go...
I do think he could see things others couldn't. I think it was neural. He also had some crazy religious shit happening. And met with very little success in his life, despite his religious and artistic compulsions.
He sold only one painting in his lifetime. Now his paintings command millions.
I really love the Vincent episode. It's the best of that whole season, and I love that they bring him to the museum at the end. It makes me cry every time.
I thought it was a really strong educational moment when they bring him to the museum, and Amy is insisting that his depression will lift and he'll live a long life. And that doesn't happen.
Because depression like VG's is not a matter of life experiences. It's not like being sad because something happened. It's the inability to experience sustained happiness. And so of course it would make no difference on his suicide. It wasn't a lack of good experiences that caused his depression--it was a neurological problem. Nothing you could show him would fix his brain chemistry.
While deeply sad, I was really glad they left it as complex as they did, and not some simple "It's a Wonderful Life" solution.
"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things."
Oh, NOW I get it. Lovecraft totally had schizophrenia! Oh, wait.
The thing that breaks my heart about van Gogh is the primal urgency of his work. As if he had to get this stuff out. And it was all so fucking beautiful. In my personal fanon, it wasn't about selling his work; it is that desperate need to create that sets artists apart from people like me.
Or I have no idea what I'm talking about.