Van Gogh spent a little more than two years in Arles and its environs, painting the burning light and indelible shadows of Arles…
The city languished under the Provencal sun, adding to its collection of interesting buildings during the Renaissance and the Baroque, but somehow lacking heart. The Rhone, no longer considered divine, became diabolical. When Dante considered the river at Arles, the word “stagnate” occurred to him. The monks of Montmajour made some headway in the drainage projects which the Romans left unfinished, but many large brackish lagoons remained. At last the Dutch engineer Van Ens drained them in the seventeenth-century, creating fertile fields and a less miasmic atmosphere….
…Whereas modern art consisted of revolutionary experiments motivated by a desire to express aspects of the newly-discovered “unconscious mind,” Kuspit argues, postart is shallow, unreflective banality motivated by the desire to become institutionalized; that is, part of the mainstream (along with the commercial reward that such co-opted acceptability brings). In this regard, the messianic zeal with which Van Gogh approached his work represents an ideal because it demonstrates the kind of authentic and individualistic commitment to artistic expression that today’s commercialized postartists lack. The crucifixion has become a cabaret. Read More:http://www.themodernword.com/reviews/kuspit.html
…Then in February 1888, during a snowstorm, came another Dutchaman who saw Arles as the city had been waiting to be seen: a miracle of color beneath the golden sun. Vincent adored, ” the sun pouring down bright yellow rays on the shrubs and the earth- an absolute shower of gold.” He painted in the mistral, fixing his easel to the ground with stakes, and squinting at the blowing corn. He listened to the summer song of the cicada.
And as Van Gogh walked, across the burning fields to Montmajour, past houses touched with white and heavy orange, through the yellow grain fields, he turned and saw Arles on its hill in the golden light, a city completely gold now, and of all its works of art, a total work of art in itself.
Van Gogh may have been a sick Dutchman, but his work turns the inner light of Rembrandt’s paintings inside out — paintings made during the Golden Age of Dutch painting, when the Netherlands was the greatest seafaring and commercial power in the world. The inner light is the auratic expression of Dutch power. It may be “the inner light, mysteriously potent, Rothko believed had originated with Rembrandt, which is why when he taught a course on ‘Contemporary Artists’ at Brooklyn Col
it was with Rembrandt that he began,” (424) but it is also the glaring klieg light in which Rembrandt’s Dutchmen theatrically posed, the picture of glorious prosperity and worldly success. Read More:http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/books/kuspit/simon-schama-power-of-art11-23-09.asp
Collins (1989) stated that John Gedo, Donald Kuspit, Albert Lubin, Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Gilbert Rose and Aaron Sheon studied Van Gogh’s and Gauguin’s troubled psyches to determine whether psychobiography can analyze formal issues as well as subject matter. The panel dwelled at length on the homoerotic aspects of van Gogh’s and Gauguin’s relationship. Gauguin was a strong father figure in Vincent’s subconscious, yet he believed that he could live peacefully with Gauguin under one roof. Vincent grew nervous when Gauguin wanted his companionship and feverishly he started to paint. He planned for the arrival of Gauguin and prepared a room specific for the newcomer. “If someone comes visiting, he should receive the prettiest room and I will decorate it like a ladies room … big pictures with twelve or fourteen sunflowers and a cozy bed.” ( van Gogh, letter 534) Read More:http://www.heikestucke.com/vangogh.htm