Architecture
Leave a Comment

Cafés and Country Houses: Vincent van Gogh’s Enduring Appeal

There are things, some of them passing strange, what happens when one confronts a work of art: (i)unfolding of the heart; (ii) its expansion; (iii) its agitation; and, finally, (iv) vibration.   

— from a reading of Kavyartha (Theory of Poetry)

Introdution:

Vincent van Gogh was a complete and utter failure in everything that seems important to his contemporaries. He was unable to start a family, earn his own living, or even keep his friends.[1] Yet in his paintings, he was able to establish his own concept of order against the chaos that apparently surrounded him. His art was an attempt to come to terms with a world in which he was endlessly ridiculed and laughed at. In the face of harsh criticism and bare recognition, his aim was not to escape the real world or suffer by renouncing it, but instead to make it tangible in an inclusive sense. In this way, his art enabled him to accept the once so hostile world as his own.

His artistic talents were only recognized after his death. The bourgeoisie, whose ideas of value has been so repellant to him all his life, now used the term ‘genius’ to describe him.[2] He became the embodiment of the worldly discontent which overcomes us now and again.

Impressionists, a circle of similarly minded artists emerging in the nineteenth century rendered a new world to be conceived by art. “They tried to capture, in the very painting” as Merleau Ponty said, “how objects strike our eyes and attack our senses. Objects are depicted as they appear to instant perception, without fixed contours, bound together by light and air.”[3] This intention is best summarized by the conversation between Emile Bernard and Paul Cezanne. Bernard, himself a noted painter, reminded Cezanne, that each stroke of the artist must “contain the air, the light, the object, the composition, the character, the outline, and the style.”[4] [5] Cezanne replied, “They created pictures; we are attempting a piece of nature.”[6]

Nature as Inspiration:

Vincent van Gogh, a relatively unknown Dutch painter who lived in France, belonged to a post-impressionist group of artists of the late nineteenth century. The post-impressionists supported impressionists (that favored painting in the open air) but believed that color could be independent of form and contain a whole set of aesthetic and emotional meanings.[7] Albert Aurier, a young art critic and the only critic to write and publish an article on Van Gogh during his lifetime wrote: “Never had there been a painter, whose art appealed so directly to the senses: from the ‘indefinable aroma’ of his sincerity to the ‘flesh and matter’ of his paint, from the brilliant and radiant symphonies’ of his color to the ‘intense sensuality’ of his line.”[8] I would claim thatVan Gogh’s symbolism lies in the immediate experience, in the richness of everyday life and objects from the observation as well as in the imaginative mind.

The German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, after seeing the “astonishing” portfolio of Van Gogh’s works in Paris in 1907, wrote to his wife:

            I believe I do feel what Van Gogh must have felt at a certain juncture, and it is a strong and great feeling: that everything is yet to be done: everything. But this devotion to what is nearest, this is something I can’t do as yet, or only in my best moments, while it is at one’s worst moments that one really needs it.[9]

Rilke recognized the difficulty of what Van Gogh wanted to achieve in his life: “a devotion to what is the nearest”. One could argue that nature, in its all form and beauty was “nearest” to him. Van Gogh in one of the letters from the Hague, in 1882, wrote to Theo about their encounter with nature:

            The question is, has everybody also been thoughtful as a child, has everybody who has seen them really loved the heath, fields, meadows, woods, and the snow and the rain and the storm? Not everybody has done this way you and I have: a peculiar kind of surroundings and circumstances must contribute to it, and a peculiar kind of temperament and character must help it take root.[10]

Later in life, when he painted The Night Café, he hoped to unify the experiential element of his life with his work. He once again wrote to Theo:

            If we study Japanese art, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent, who spends his time doing what? In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No. In studying Bismarck’s policy? No. He studies a single blade of grass. [11]

It is this blade of grass that lead him to draw every plant, seasons, the wide aspects of the countryside, the animals, and the human figure.[12] He wrote to Theo of his efforts:

             I see in my work an echo of what struck me, I see that nature has told me something, has spoken to me and that I’ve written it down in shorthand. In my shorthand, there may be words that are indecipherable — errors or gaps — yet something remains of what the wood or the beach or the figure said — and it is not a tame or conventional language which does not stem from nature itself but from a studied manner or a system.[13]

In this same letter, Van Gogh had told Theo, “I am glad I have not learned painting”, and gave credit to the unconventional mentor that had taught him, “nature itself.”[14] Nature as a mentor and companion did not exhaust its role in Van Gogh’s life. To paint nature, as one who heard its voice, was to open the door of understanding of humanity. For Van Gogh, “art is man added to nature,” the artist revealing nature’s inner character “which he disentangles, sets free and interprets.”[15] For him, the very act of painting was learning to see with feelings for the world, and learning to live deeply and compassionately.

A Layered World in Van Gogh’s Strokes:

In Vincent’s reality, images evoked emotions. Vincent looked into images not to be instructed or inspired but to be moved. He claimed that art should be “personal and intimate” and it should concern us only with “what touches us as a human being.”[16]

These were the simple images that peopled Vincent’s world: “unpolished” peasants with faces “broad and rough” (Head of a Peasant Woman with White Cap), fine-featured young ladies( Agostina Segatori and La Mousme, sitting); old men (Postman Joseph Roulin) and sturdy labors (Loom with the Weaver). “The secret of beautiful work,” he wrote, “lies mainly in truth and sincere sentiment.”[17] In Vincent’s reality, both the search for significance and the search for sentiment demanded simplicity. In his own work, he pledged to seek images “that almost everybody will understand”—to simplify each image “to the essentials, with a deliberate disregard of those details that do not belong.”[18]

Taking two paintings of two cafes that Van Gogh created around the same time in 1888, I maintain that with the essentials he mediated the effect of imminent atmosphere to the viewer’s lives in an idiosyncratic “layered” manner.

Image result for night cafe van gogh
The Night Café in the Place Lamartine in Arles, September 1888

“The painting is one of the ugliest I’ve done.”[19] This is what Vincent Van Gogh told his brother in a letter referencing The Night Café. This is a jarring image, even for Van Gogh, especially compared it to his other famous painting done around the same period of a café in Arles, Café Terrace at Night.

The Café Terrace at Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, September 1888

In Café Terrace at Night, Van Gogh captures the romantic sense of European cafes on Summer evenings, where friends gather to talk and laugh. The blue starry sky compliments the pool of orange and yellow gas light under the terrace, which spills out over the cobblestones touched with violet and blue.

Compared to this, The Night Café is a painting of anxiety and alienation. If the exterior is the dream of French nightlife in Café Terrace, the interior is depicted dire. If the exterior is a place to talk and laugh, the interior of the cafe is a place where one can ruin yourself, go mad, commit crimes, as Vincent wrote in a letter to his brother.[20] From these letters, it is understood that the odd, uncomfortable quality of The Night Café painting was intentional. In the same way that he used color to capture his emotional response to natural beauty- in many of his landscape painting, here Van Gogh used color to convey the uneasiness of a low-class bar room after midnight. So, how did Van Gogh achieve this effect? And to answer these questions, maybe, the first place one should look is back in those letters. About The Night Café, Van Gogh wrote, “I`ve tried to express the terrible human passions with the red and the green. Everywhere it`s a battle and an antithesis of the most different greens and reds.”

Color plays a significant role in our perception of the world. The impressionist painters used this theory to push the effects of color further than ever before. By using “antithesis between greens and reds”, the two complementary colors, he deliberately colored the painting nervous. Whereas blue and orange, two complementary colors, have a pleasing quality (see the orange floorboard and blue sky of Café Terrace at Night); there is hostile nature about green and red. Van Gogh intentionally played with these two colors to communicate eeriness in the atmosphere.

Apart from the color combination, there are a number of other factors that add to the strangeness of the painting. The man standing in white shirt- the café owner Joseph Ginoux’s legs are absent. Furthermore, despite the presence of so many objects, there is one single shadow, spreading beneath the table. The other objects in the painting surprisingly do not have any. What was Van Gogh trying to portray?

He went from painting a comforting view to a rather dark disquieting moment of living. The lamps of the ceiling are painted with circles of halos around. They are creating a mystical radiance over the room. Later reflecting on this instant, Van Gogh wrote, “I have tried to express as it were the powers of darkness … and all this in an atmosphere like a devil’s furnace, of pale sulfur.”[21]

In his account, Van Gogh did not speak about one of the most powerful effects: his absorbing perspective which draws us past the empty chairs and tables into hidden depths behind a distant doorway— an opening that repeats the silhouette of the standing figure of the café owner. The doorway leading to another room is brightly lit compared to the gloomy atmosphere of the room.

Painted during September 1888, same as The Night Café, this colorful outdoor view is less dramatic, more scenic. It is a depiction of a more relaxed outdoor environment in which a spectator enjoys surroundings sitting in an outdoor café while participating in the city life. It is a scene of a casual public life where spaces seamlessly merge into one another. The luminous glow of the lamp is reciprocated by the sparkling stars of the night sky. There is a progression from light to dark in this painting, in a reverse manner when compared to The Night Café.

What is common between these two paintings are that they both seem to be waiting in time. The chairs in the café terrace are anticipating guests from the street under the starry sky. The windows to the left of the painting are ajar- reinforcing the spatial openness. The silhouette exists in between the contrast of illumination of the café and the night sky. This contrast is rather peaceful and coexisting. The café table tops are imitating the disks of the stars. There is a sense of ephemerality that is persistent throughout. Van Gogh attempted to capture the transience of happiness.

The paintings of two different cafés- one interior and another exterior- both in their way mysterious and beautiful- produces vastly different effects. Van Gogh employed the tools at his disposal to create an ambiance to produce contrasting emotions.

Lived Spaces in Van Gogh’s Paintings:

The Bedroom, Early September 1889

To Van Gogh, this painting is an expression of “perfect rest” or “sleep in general”. The perspective vision of the walls and the bed is as exciting as one of his best landscapes. For Van Gogh’s edgy nature, even the sense of “rest” in his paintings become restless, or eventful. The Bedroom signifies movement through an inventive play of scattered objects in the room.

The lines of the floor invite the eye to follow the convergence, and then abruptly deny the pleasure of following it up with a thick stroke of wall floor intersection. The bed appears as able to sliding down at any time. The partial ceiling visible only at the top right corner and the hanging photos add to the complexity of the painting.

One could argue that The Bedroom appears to be telling a tale of lived presence. Hanging towel and shirts, faded floor, worn chair seats – all allude to this very presence of the lived character. Yet, under the veil of striking naivety, there is a layered world in this painting.

Despite Van Gogh’s intention of portrayal of “perfect rest”[22], the painting does not give a sense of total calm. The objects do not relate to each other and they are rather isolated. All the objects are considerably foreshortened, floorboards lurch steeply forward, giving the impression of almost lifting over each other; the window is half open, the slanting furniture- the table and chairs near the bed- as well as the paintings hang over into the room. The sense of ambivalence prevailing in the atmosphere lends a tense aura to the room. It is the wish for coziness, comfort, care of a home which contradicts the reality. Unlike Night Café where Van Gogh intended a ruinous atmosphere, the Bedroom leaves an unintended uneasy feeling.

Act of Participation in the Object of Art:

A great painter always invites his viewer to participate in the painting. As Café Terrace at Night, Bedroom in Arles is also expecting someone to participate in the theatre of life.  Van Gogh in his Bedroom invites the viewer to imagine the presence of the occupant and his interaction with mundane objects in their cavities of mind. The viewer is asked to feel the space with his own body. This imagination calls for an embodied memory of the viewer—which is to be felt and lived. These spaces have very specific temperature and odor. Van Gogh invites the viewer to feel the texture of the floorboard or the coarse grains of the bed. The Bedroom at the end goes beyond the capacity of description or language and demands an experiential and emotional reading. The street in the Café Terrace does not end in at the edge of the painting; it expands all around the viewer as a network of streets, buildings and at the end life situations. I claim that this activation of imagination is an invaluable function in Van Gogh’s paintings.

The Architecture of Lived Reality:

Place and event, space and mind, are not outside of each other. Mutually defining each other, they fuse unavoidably into a singular experience. Experiencing space is dialogue, a kind of exchange- I place myself in the space and space settles in me. This identification of physical and mental space is intuitively grasped by artists like Van Gogh. “I see a world,” he said, “which is quite different from what most painters see.” [23]The poignant contrast of two café settings confirms the claim of the painter.

In the lived experience, when one is engaged in action, the place is given. The contents of the present moment arise or deplete at varying rates depending on the nature of the atmosphere. Buildings themselves are more of permanent nature which acts a storehouse for memories.[24] Scientists have studied Van Gogh’s The Yellow House or The Bedroom subjecting to a more analytical framework of Euclidean space.[25] However, the more effective way to understand the temporality of the architectural space and atmosphere is to effectively engage bodily with space. When the viewer connects with the brushstrokes of the worn chair or becomes familiar with the hanging towels in The Bedroom, the true nature of such paintings is revealed.

The ephemerality of the lived presence surprisingly well in Van Gogh’s work which offers a fleeting instance of time captured. His paintings, which doesn’t offer neatness of a photograph, but more of a fluid, temperance of the lived reality, yearns for emotional reading. The immense popularity of his artworks, I would claim, stems partly from its tactility and ability to correlate with the viewer’s activated imagination. In other words, the painting and the perceiver are not separate, and they do not exist independently. They are codependent and actual lived experience coming out of the coemerging nature of this collaboration. In experiencing the lived space, the memory, and dreams, fear and desire, value and meaning fuse with actual perception. In intertwined conditions of mental and physical space, one experience lived presence. “Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined?”, asks Italo Calvino and continues, “each life is an encyclopaedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable.”[26] The modes of experiencing painting and architecture become identical in this mental space, which meanders without fixed boundaries. In painting, a mental image is transferred from the experiential realm of the painter to the mental world of the perceiver.

As one sees from the dimly lit room in Night Café or fromthe perspective set in The Bedroom, the essence of space as determined by an artist is free from functional demands, technical restraints, and limitations of the professional practice of architects. The architecture conceived by an artist is often a direct reflection of mental images, memories, and dreams; the artist creates an architecture of the lived presence. The lived spaces in Van Gogh’s paintings are a testament to this effect. Places with which he was tormented and where he was peacefully attuned, are reflected in his artwork. On deeper engagement, the paintings provide the observer the hints about it.

Concluding Thoughts:

“How would the painter or poet,” writes Merleau-Ponty, “express anything other than his encounter with the world?”[27] Vincent van Gogh’s art illustrates his encounter with his world in an apparently simple but profound way. In order to immerse oneself with such worldly experience from art, one has to be patient enough to look for a clue. Like architecture, a work of art is an exchange of experiential feelings and meanings between the space and the mind. Art like architecture impregnates space with the meaning and gives back its essence. It articulates the boundary between the mind and the world. It questions some of the basic assertions and emotions that one take for granted. Construction of our time has normalized the emotions and censored human emotions: darkness and fear, elation and ecstasy. These extreme scales of emotional contrast are set free by great work of art. Anxiety and alienation as seen in Night Café are undone by Café Terrace at Night with dreams and reverie. Architecture becomes a container for these emotions at the end and it manifests itself in all the things that we partake in. Such is the nature of the layered world we live in.

References:

“152 (151, 130): To Theo van Gogh. Wasmes, on or about Thursday, 19 June 1879. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let152/letter.html#translation.

“260 (261, 228): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 3 September 1882. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let260/letter.html.

“677 (680, 534): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 9 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let677/letter.html#translation.

“686 (690, 542): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 23 or Monday, 24 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let686/letter.html.

Bachelard, Gaston, and M. Jolas. 1994. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press. h

Calvino, Italo. 1988. Six Memos for the next Millennium. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press,.

Edwards, Cliff. 2009. Mystery of The Night Café : Hidden Key to the Spirituality of Vincent Van Gogh. Albany, NY : Excelsior Editions/State University of New York Press,.

Heelan, Patrick A. 1972. “Toward a New Analysis of the Pictorial Space of Vincent Van Gogh.” The Art Bulletin 54 (4): 478. https://doi.org/10.2307/3049037.

“Impressionism and Post-Impressionism | Oxford Art.” n.d. Accessed March 12, 2019. http://www.oxfordartonline.com/page/impressionism-and-post-impressionism/impressionism-and-postimpressionism.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Hubert L. Dreyfus, and Patricia Allen Dreyfus. 1964. Sense and Non-Sense. Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology & Existential Philosophy. [Evanston, Ill.]: Northwestern University Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Galen A. Johnson, and Michael B. Smith. 1993. The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting. Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press. http://www.gbv.de/dms/bowker/toc/9780810110731.pdf.

Naifeh, Steven. 2011. Van Gogh : The Life. London : Profile,.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. 2002. Letters on Cézanne. New York : North Point Press,.

Schapiro, Meyer, and Vincent van Gogh. 2000. Vincent van Gogh. New York: Abradale Press : H.N. Abrams.

Walther, Ingo F. 2012. Vincent Van Gogh 1853-1890: Vision and Reality. Köln; London: Taschen.

Bibliography:

“152 (151, 130): To Theo van Gogh. Wasmes, on or about Thursday, 19 June 1879. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let152/letter.html#translation.

“260 (261, 228): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 3 September 1882. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let260/letter.html.

“588 (589, 470): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Wednesday, 21 or Thursday, 22 March 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed November 28, 2018.

“677 (680, 534): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 9 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let677/letter.html#translation.

“686 (690, 542): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 23 or Monday, 24 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let686/letter.html.

“720 (725, W9): To Willemien van Gogh. Arles, on or about Monday, 12 November 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed April 8, 2019. http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let720/letter.html.

“801 (802, 605): To Theo van Gogh. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Tuesday, 10 September 1889. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” 1889. 1889. http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let801/letter.html.

“898 (903, 649): To Theo van Gogh and Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Auvers-Sur-Oise, on or about Thursday, 10 July 1890. – Vincent van Gogh Letters.” n.d. Accessed April 9, 2019. http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let898/letter.html.

“A Year with Rilke: About the Images: The Artists Connected with Rilke.” n.d. A Year with Rilke (blog). Accessed March 6, 2019. http://yearwithrilke.blogspot.com/p/about-images.html.

Brantley, Ben. 2017. “Review: Listening (Yes, Listening) to the Beauty of van Gogh.” The New York Times, December 22, 2017, sec. Theater. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/theater/van-goghs-ear-review.html.

Calvino, Italo. 1988. Six Memos for the next Millennium. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press,.

Clark, Timothy. 2001. Martin Heidegger. 1st ed. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203193631.

CNN, Alyn Griffiths. 2015. “How Architecture Feeds the Imagination of Art.” CNN Style. June 30, 2015. https://www.cnn.com/style/article/how-architecture-inspires-artists-libeskind/index.html.

Edwards, Cliff. 2009. Mystery of The Night Café : Hidden Key to the Spirituality of Vincent Van Gogh. Albany, NY : Excelsior Editions/State University of New York Press,.

Gayford, Martin. 2006. The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles. London: Fig Tree.

Gerard Fromm, M. 2018. A Spirit That Impels: Play, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis. London, UNITED KINGDOM: Routledge. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/mcgill/detail.action?docID=1674062.

Goodman, Nelson. 1976. Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. 2. ed., [Nachdr.]. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett.

Harries, Karsten. 2009. Art Matters: A Critical Commentary on Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art.” Contributions to Phenomenology, v. 57. Dordrecht: Springer.

Heelan, Patrick A. 1972. “Toward a New Analysis of the Pictorial Space of Vincent Van Gogh.” The Art Bulletin 54 (4): 478. https://doi.org/10.2307/3049037.

Heidegger, Martin, Julian. Young, and Kenneth Haynes. 2002. Off the Beaten Track. Cambridge, UK ; Cambridge University Press. http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/toc/cam023/2002017387.html.

Helvey, Jennifer. 2009. Irises: Vincent van Gogh in the Garden. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum. http://bvbr.bib bvb.de:8991/F?func=service&doc_library=BVB01&local_base=BVB01&doc_number=018740543&line_number=0001&func_code=DB_RECORDS&service_type=MEDIA.

“Impressionism and Post-Impressionism | Oxford Art.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.oxfordartonline.com/page/impressionism-and-post-impressionism/impressionism-and-postimpressionism.

“Kim Reviews Van Gogh’s Bedrooms.” n.d. Accessed October 30, 2018a. http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn16/kim-reviews-van-gogh-bedrooms.

Leymarie, Jean. 1968. Who Was van Gogh? Who Was–? Geneva: Skira; distributed in the U.S. by World Pub. Co., Cleveland.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Hubert L. Dreyfus, and Patricia Allen Dreyfus. 1964. Sense and Non-Sense. Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology & Existential Philosophy. [Evanston, Ill.]: Northwestern University Press.

Naifeh, Steven, and Gregory White Smith. 2011. Van Gogh: The Life. First U.S. Edition. New York: Random House.

Noë, Alva. 2004. Action in Perception. Representation and Mind. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Pérez Gómez, Alberto. 2006. Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. https://mega.nz/#!SPoh2YhA!yn0VLvF5QLS9blfeoKZ3k3Go3-q00yoU0aqkksyJYiI.

———. 2016. Attunement: Architectural Meaning after the Crisis of Modern Science. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. 2002. Letters on Cézanne. New York : North Point Press,.

Rilke, Rainer Maria, and Robert Vilain. 2016. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Route, Van Gogh. n.d. “Cathédrale Saint-Trophime, Arles, France.” Van Gogh Route. Accessed November 28, 2018. http://www.vangoghroute.com/france/arles/cathedrale-saint-trophime/.

Schapiro, Meyer, and Vincent van Gogh. 2000. Vincent van Gogh. New York: Abradale Press : H.N. Abrams.

“Snapshot.” n.d. Accessed March 6, 2019a. https://exploringyourmind.com/vincent-van-gogh-and-the-power-of-synesthesia-in-art/.

“Snapshot.” ———. n.d. Accessed November 28, 2018b. http://www.vangoghroute.com/france/arles/cathedrale-saint-trophime/.

Thomson, Richard. 2008. Vincent Van Gogh: The Starry Night. New York: Museum of Modern Art : Distributed in the United States and Canada by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers.

“Vincent Van Gogh and the Power of Synesthesia in Art.” 2018. Exploring Your Mind (blog). June 20, 2018. https://exploringyourmind.com/vincent-van-gogh-and-the-power-of-synesthesia-in-art/.

“Vincent van Gogh: The Paintings (Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles).” n.d. Accessed October 30, 2018a. http://www.vggallery.com/painting/p_0482.htm.

 “Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh : C. 3-5 December 1882.” n.d. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/11/251.htm.

Walther, Ingo F. 2012. Vincent Van Gogh 1853-1890: Vision and Reality. Köln; London: Taschen.

Ward, John L. 1976. “A Reexamination of Van Gogh’s Pictorial Space.” The Art Bulletin 58 (4): 593. https://doi.org/10.2307/3049573.

Welsh-Ovcharov, Bogomila. 1974. Van Gogh in Perspective. Artists In Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.


[1] (Walther 2012, 7)

[2] (Naifeh 2011, 4)

[3] (Merleau-Ponty, Dreyfus, and Dreyfus 1964, 11)

[4] (Merleau-Ponty, Dreyfus, and Dreyfus 1964, 15)

[5] I find it interesting, since Rainer Maria Rilke in Notebook to Malte Laurids Brigge wrote on similar vein: “In order to write a single line, one must see a great many cities, people and things, have an understanding of animals, sense how it is to be a bird in flight, and know the manner in which the little flowers open every morning.”

[6] (Merleau-Ponty, Dreyfus, and Dreyfus 1964, 12)

[7] (“Impressionism and Post-Impressionism | Oxford Art” n.d.)

[8] (Naifeh 2011, 805)

[9] (Rilke 2002, 22–23) 

[10] (Edwards 2009, 95)

[11] (“686 (690, 542): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 23 or Monday, 24 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[12] (Naifeh 2011, 287)

[13] (“260 (261, 228): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 3 September 1882. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[14] (“260 (261, 228): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Sunday, 3 September 1882. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[15] (“152 (151, 130): To Theo van Gogh. Wasmes, on or about Thursday, 19 June 1879. – Vincent van Gogh Letters” )

[16] (Naifeh 2011, 287)

[17] (“Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh : C. 3-5 December 1882”)

[18] (Naifeh 2011, 287)

[19] (“677 (680, 534): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 9 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[20] (“677 (680, 534): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 9 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[21] (“677 (680, 534): To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 9 September 1888. – Vincent van Gogh Letters”)

[22] (Schapiro and Gogh 2000, 78)

[23] (Naifeh 2011, 288)

[24] (Bachelard and Jolas 1994, 6)

[25] (Heelan 1972)

[26] (Calvino 1988, 124)

[27] (Merleau-Ponty, Johnson, and Smith 1993, 93)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s