Details

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh


The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

A Critical Study
Cultural Dialectics

von: Patrick Grant

18,99 €

Verlag: Au Press
Format: EPUB
Veröffentl.: 01.05.2014
ISBN/EAN: 9781927356760
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 254

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Beschreibungen

When he died at the age of thirty-seven, Vincent van Gogh left a legacy of over two thousand artworks, for which he is now justly famous. But van Gogh was also a prodigious writer of letters—more than eight hundred of them, addressed to his parents, to friends such as Paul Gauguin, and, above all, to his brother Theo. His letters have long been admired for their exceptional literary quality, and art historians have sometimes drawn on the letters in their analysis of the paintings. And yet, to date, no one has undertaken a critical assessment of this remarkable body of writing—not as a footnote to the paintings but as a highly sophisticated literary achievement in its own right. Patrick Grant’s long-awaited study provides such an assessment and, as such, redresses a significant omission in the field of van Gogh studies.
As Grant demonstrates, quite apart from furnishing a highly revealing self-portrait of their author, the letters are compelling for their imaginative and expressive power, as well as for the perceptive commentary they offer on universal human themes. Through a subtle exploration of van Gogh’s contrastive style of thinking and his fascination with the notion of imperfection, Grant illuminates gradual shifts in van Gogh’s ideas on religion, ethics, and the meaning of art. He also analyzes the metaphorical significance of a number of key images in the letters, which prove to yield unexpected psychological and conceptual connections, and probes the relationships that surface when the letters are viewed as a cohesive literary product. The result is a wealth of new insights into van Gogh’s inner landscape.
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh is a long-awaited critical assessment of Vincent Van Gogh’s more than eight hundred letters. As Grant demonstrates, quite apart from furnishing a highly revealing self-portrait of the author, the letters are compelling for their imaginative and expressive power, as well as for the perceptive commentary they offer on universal human themes. The result is a wealth of new insights into Van Gogh’s inner landscape.
When he died at the age of thirty-seven, Vincent van Gogh left a legacy of over two thousand artworks, for which he is now justly famous. But van Gogh was also a prodigious writer of letters—more than eight hundred of them, addressed to his parents, to friends such as Paul Gauguin, and, above all, to his brother Theo. His letters have long been admired for their exceptional literary quality, and art historians have sometimes drawn on the letters in their analysis of the paintings. And yet, to date, no one has undertaken a critical assessment of this remarkable body of writing—not as a footnote to the paintings but as a highly sophisticated literary achievement in its own right. Patrick Grant’s long-awaited study provides such an assessment and, as such, redresses a significant omission in the field of van Gogh studies.
As Grant demonstrates, quite apart from furnishing a highly revealing self-portrait of their author, the letters are compelling for their imaginative and expressive power, as well as for the perceptive commentary they offer on universal human themes. Through a subtle exploration of van Gogh’s contrastive style of thinking and his fascination with the notion of imperfection, Grant illuminates gradual shifts in van Gogh’s ideas on religion, ethics, and the meaning of art. He also analyzes the metaphorical significance of a number of key images in the letters, which prove to yield unexpected psychological and conceptual connections, and probes the relationships that surface when the letters are viewed as a cohesive literary product. The result is a wealth of new insights into van Gogh’s inner landscape.
Preface and Acknowledgements- xi;
Introduction: Letters as Literature -3;
Part I Vincent Agonistes: Religion, Morality, Art;
1 Religious Convictions, Moral Imperatives -23;
2 The Artistic Life and Its Limits -51;
Part II Thinking in Images;
3 Birds’ Nests: Art and Nature, Exile and Return -73;
4 The Mistral: Creativity and Adversity -91;
5 Cab Horses: Despair and Optimism- 107;
Part III Exploring with Ideas;
6 By Heart: The Creative Unconscious -133;
7 A Handshake Till Your Fingers Hurt: Autonomy and Dependency- 159;
8 Something New Without a Name: Beyond Religion, Morality, Art -185;
Conclusion: "My Own Portrait in Writing” -209;
Notes -221;
Index- 235
Van Gogh's writing can remind us of similar effects in the paintings, the differences
in audience and intent notwithstanding. Though meant for public viewing, the
paintings (like the letters) are often disturbingly confessional and personally revealing;
though written for private purposes, the letters, (like the paintings) are often of broad
human interest. Van Gogh's lack of finish, the roughness and imperfection that lie
at the far side of technical skill (and are not to be mistaken for lack of technical skill)
communicate something essential to his vision, his always unfinished search to know
and communicate "what most makes me a human being".

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