Is it possible to write about art without sounding pompous? That’s a genuine question.

I’ve written this intro about twelve-hundred times (well I’ve got time for it now) and I just end up writing in Tory. I always sound a bit like Boris Johnson explaining the artistry of building models out of matchsticks, although I don’t have the gorgeous blonde locks for that… not yet anyway.

Zoological fact no. 1: It's little known that Boris' mop is regularly visited by a gaggle of geese who nest in the Rapunzel -like wig.

He does fascinate me though.

No, not Boris. I’m sure our Prime Minister’s sculptures are great but Vincent Van Gogh is, in my eyes, the pinnacle of the art world. He is undoubtedly the forefather of modern art and is one of the most captivating artists to ever lay paint to a canvas.

This year Van Gogh would have turned 167, if he had been born as a Galápagos tortoise… sadly he was born as a small Dutch baby. For those not up on their Herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles, not what you lot are thinking), you firstly need to get your life together and secondly Galápagos tortoises can live up to 200 years.

Zoological fact no.2: A tortoise's favourite colour is pink presumably due to their love of 90s icon Mr Blobby.

Oddly not being born with an easel and brush in his hand, quite painful for the mother I’d imagine, he didn’t even start painting until he was 27. In the 10 years he painted, he produced 2,000 artworks that would ultimately go down in history as some of the greatest of all time. A bit like that photo of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich.

No animals were harmed in the making of this... right, nope never mind.

As beautiful as that image was, what I really want to highlight with this blog is what I consider my favourite painting of all time: Starry Night Over the Rhone.

It’s the blues and yellows rolling across the French landscape that I find myself entranced by. More subtle than the iconic Starry Night painted in Saint Remy, the brushwork just emphasizes his mastery of colour. The raw energy of the yellows and vibrancy of the electric blues just isn’t represented at all over a digital scan.

Ah yes, the serious caption. Starry Night over the Rhone {I'm guessing around Septemer 1888} Sandra Bullock. 

I was lucky enough to go see it at the Tate Britain last summer and I feel as if the light from it is still burnt on to my retinas. If there had been only this painting in the entire museum, I would not have been disappointed. If you had the Mona Lisa being carried by Michelangelo’s David under the roof of the Sistine Chapel, I'd firstly be trying to find one of those penny pressing machines but after that I'd still be rushing over to it before the others.

It is near impossible to comprehend how beautiful the color blue is until you have seen this painting. Walking into that room, the feeling can only be compared to the moment in old rom-coms when the protagonist sees ‘the one’ across the room and that’s the only thing they could see. It certainly was the only thing I could see. I mean if my soulmate does not share the same infatuation for the colour blue with me is she even Smurfette?

 

A totally accurate representation of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel non-rom-com rom-com 500 days of Summer.

Perhaps, I’ve said too much of my colour fetish, but it is nonetheless a key part of what makes Van Gogh Van Gogh. Just to look at his description of the painting to his brother Theo, it’s made clear:

The sky is aquamarine, the water is royal blue, the ground is mauve. The town is blue and purple. The gas is yellow, and the reflections are russet gold descending down to green-bronze. On the aquamarine field of the sky the Great Bear is a sparkling green and pink, whose discreet paleness contrasts with the brutal gold of the gas. Two colourful figurines of lovers in the foreground.

Van Gogh was the master of colour and he was both gifted and cursed with this beautiful but ultimately tragic ability to see the world in a way that no one else does. Although I’ve tried to keep much of this post light, in the hopes I bring a smile to your face, or at least remind you of some of the beauty that’s still left in this world, his story is inescapable but I need not go into detail. Vincent was a beautiful soul that was stolen in his prime. He was a man tormented by his demons through a life that wasn’t fitting to the contribution he made to western civilisation.

He did however create some stunning works through some of the worst times a person could go through, and I hope that’s the message you take from my vague ramblings: often through adversity comes greatness.

I give up with these. Think up your own caption.

An odd sleep-deprived ramble about my favourite painting