Monday, April 11, 2016

From a Van Gogh letter

Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, November 16, 1883:

The ride into the village was beautiful. Enormous mossy roofs of houses, stables, covered sheepfolds, barns. The very broad-fronted houses here are set among oaktrees of a superb bronze. Tones in the moss of gold-green, in the ground of reddish or bluish or yellowish dark lilac-greys, tones of inexpressible purity in the green of the little cornfields, tones of black in the wet tree trunks, standing out against the golden rain of swirling, teeming autumn leaves, which hang in loose clumps — as if they had been blown there, loose and with the light filtering through them — from the poplars, the birches, the limes and the apple trees.

The sky smooth and bright, shining, not white but a barely detectable lilac, white vibrant with red, blue and yellow, reflecting everything and felt everywhere above one, hazy and merging with the thin mist below, fusing everything in a gamut of delicate greys.

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh , ed. Ronald de Leeuw, trans. Arnold Pomerans (New York: Penguin, 1997).
Also from Van Gogh’s letters
Admire as much as you can”
“It was a bright autumn day and a beautiful walk”
“Lately, during the dark days before Christmas”
“So you must picture me sitting at my attic window”
“At the moment, I can see a splendid effect”

comments: 2

The Crow said...

I've been enjoying these excerpts from Vincent's letters. His writing has painted such vivid images in my imagination, equal - in a quieter manner - to his canvases.

I wish I had lived near him, to see him paint, to tell him how much his art means to me. To tell him he was not alone in his torments.

Michael Leddy said...

You couldn’t have known this, but the last excerpt I’m going to post (I’m trying to space them out) is about his feeling of aloneness.

Reading the letters has made me appreciate his work much more.