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Just skipping ahead to look at the color plates of Vincent Van Gogh’s work since when I get the nook back I know the photos will be tough to see. I know nothing of art except what I see. Since there is no photography I appreciate that Vincent Van Gogh has captured for me the look of the local postman, the look of women eating potatoes, the look of a copper pot full of flowers, and the look of the interior of a restaurant in 1888. He found it reasonable to paint for me his own chair with his pipe, as well as that of Gauguin’s, to let me know what the chair of a great painter might look like. And it delights me to discover that the chairs of great painters look like chairs I might sit in, yet each with a distinct personality. Maybe my chair has a distinct personality too.

As I turn pages and see pictures some appear that are familiar, the famous Van Gogh’s. I am able to see now that they become unusually energetic, full of movement and color and detail as his style develops, and I know I have have not appreciated this before. When I free myself to just see them for what they are, I too, an untrained viewer can appreciate this great art.

Themes arise. He maniacally honors a drive to draw and paint the sower over and over, in iteration after iteration. There is some reason to toil over every stroke. In the end the scenes of the sower are haunting and symbolic. Van Gogh’s father preached the stories of the sowers from the Bible and used the metaphor of the sower often to teach the promise of rebirth.

It touches me to think that Vincent was drawn to his father’s theme, this same metaphorical scene of casting out with the hope of rebirth, as something worthy of life.