Recently I was told that the purpose of art is to make the world beautiful; that art should in itself be beautiful— that realism is beauty.
But what could be more beautiful than feeling something inside you move with every twist and turn of a brushstroke, every curve of carefully smoothed marble, every light and shadow and colour and form? How beautiful, that pigments spread across a cloth over a century ago by someone I will never meet and yet feel so close to, can make me feel that intimacy, that loneliness or joy or love or anger... The beauty of art for me lies not in how skillfully the artist can reproduce the world around them, but in how they can make someone else feel something.
I would crawl into those greens if I could.
Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait. 1887. Oil on cardboard. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh. Carafe and Dish with Citrus Fruit. 1887. Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh. Undergrowth. 1887. Oil on canvas. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.