My "Artist Date" with Van Gogh

Last week, I had my "artist date" with Van Gogh, getting to know him a little better.  An "artist date" is a weekly date with yourself, doing something that brings you joy.  {For more see my Page-How to FEED your Soul in this blog}  I realize what this sounds like, but seeing a person's bedroom, helps you get to know him in a different way.

The Chicago Art Institute's exhibit of the three paintings of Van Gogh's bedroom does a wonderful job of displaying and explaining Van Gogh's life in light of these paintings.  This is the first time that all three are displayed in the same room.  One resides in Amsterdam at the relatively new Van Gogh museum, one in Paris and one here in Chicago.  It explains how much he liked the first painting, which is why he did a second for a copy, and the third as a gift to his mother and sister to show how he was living apart from them in the south of France.  It also has a wonderful video that loops and shows the differences in the paintings side by side as well as the scientific molecular analyzation of the pigments used and how they have faded.  I also enjoyed the other paintings from the other artists that were Van Gogh's friends at the time and how they influenced his work.

The constant theme of the show was the searching for home that Van Gogh seemed to be saying through his life and his work.  The exhibit focused on this yearning for home in an earthly sense, but in the book The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani, Skye shows that Van Gogh's yearning was for a home of the eternal sense.  His use of vivid blue symbolizes the infinite.  His vivid yellows represent God and His glory.   God's reflected glory can be found in the windows of the houses of the peasants and is absent in the institutional church in his village scenes.  Even as his father was a pastor, his disillusionment with the institutional church showed through his search for the "Light uncreated" and found it to be accessible to all through direct prayer without any intermediaries.{Skye Jethani}  I find it interesting that his paintings were working out his theology rather than a longing for his own building to call home.  His soul was longing for an eternal home where he could have direct access to the "Light."  More can be read in The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani.

"This is far from theology, simply the fact that the poorest little wood-cutter or peasant on the heath or miner can have moments of emotion and inspiration which give him a feeling of an eternal home to which he is near."  Vincent Van Gogh


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