Okay, half-way through the gigantic Van Gogh biography I see that he is indeed a victim of some psychologically extreme state, and all my attempts to forgive these excesses seem irrational on my part. Of course there are scholars galore who have already determined what ailed him, but I like going into this naively, allowing myself an unadulterated look at a revered artist to see just how he strikes me.
I relate to his new directions, his sudden belief that this time it will all go better and he’ll get it right. I know how it is to want something so much and to try so hard to make it be even when it is not logical. I relate to the angst, the betrayal, the discord, and the giving up but trying again because passionate feelings do not just leave because you tell them to. Anger, denial, disgust, intolerance, and lots of other negative emotions follow him around no matter where he goes. I understand that, to a point. But….eventually the great desire to find prostitutes everywhere he goes, and the financial and time investment he makes in them, including the subsequent illnesses and recoveries, and then the resultant lies, not to mention the years of feeling entitled to live completely off his brother’s largess all while berating him, have me seeing that indeed Vincent and I have parted company despite our early similarities.
The fascination in this for me is that his life is documented in a multitude of letters, written in his own words, just because that is how the world communicated then, and these unwittingly serve as valid, believable fossils of his life and his inner struggle.