As soon as I came to know that I would be visiting The Netherlands, I made a to-do list. The first item on the list was "Visit Vincent van Gogh Museum"
To be completely truthful, it was not a physical list but it existed only in my mind. As an aside, does a list that exists in the mind have a physical existence? Are phrases like "in the mind" and "a physical version of it" the result of arbitrary dichotomous thinking?
Visit I did. It was a long-standing ambition, ever since I heard of van Gogh and fell in love with his paintings, fulfilled.
It is a building with a modern design. Spacious and great for exhibiting van Gogh's works. These paintings were gifted to the museum by the wife of Vincent's brother Theo, Johanna. The museum has some of the most famous and more mature works of Vincent and is a pleasure to see them all together. While the raw power of his brush strokes and his unique vision can be discerned even in good colour prints, seeing them for real is an experience beyond compare.
I entered the first floor of the museum and took in the overall look of the hall. As I moved inside I could see a painting come into view from behind a pillar. It is a painting depicting an old house the cooking fire in which is visible through a window.
(Cottage at nightfall) From that distance and in that lighting, it looked as if someone had lit a red LED there to indicate the fire. I was captivated and went straight to the picture and peered at it. It appeared to have been made with a single stroke of a rough brush carrying red paint. In my imagination that has remained THE brush stroke in art.
Vincent was on fire when he painted that!
Image: Courtesy http://www.vincent-van-gogh-gallery.org/Cottage-At-Nightfall-1885-large.html
Art Abroad VII