I love history, and art history in particular.
I was reading part of these great books last night
and it got me thinking about the need for expression
and how similar we all are, in so many ways...
There's so much to learn
about one another, isn't there?
Regardless of how far back you go in time.
We are far more similar
than we are different.
I believe the need for expression
is far greater than we sometimes realize.
I wanted to share
at least these few little things with you
that i find so interesting about these few artists.
Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919)
broke his right arm several times during his life,
and learned to paint with his left hand.
At the age of 57, he has severe athritis,
and eventually paints from his wheelchair.
But still - he paints.
(Renoir, with an already paralyzed right hand)
Claude MONET (1840-1926)
Attempts suicide several times in his life,
by jumping into the Seine River.
Between 1916 and 1926, he works on 12 large canvases,
that become The Water Lillies
and within this time frame,
he goes nearly blind due to cataracts.
Still, he paints.
(Monet - The Water Lillies)
Edouard MANET (1832-1883)
One of the great impressionist painters
who becomes good friends with artist BERTHE MORISOT,
who eventually becomes his model for painting.
He falls in love with Berthe, but in 1874,
she married his brother, Eugène.
Edouard's pain becomes obvious in his brush strokes
and choice of color in his paintings of Berthe.
He is no doubt filled with grief and longing,
and at the age of 40,
he becomes partially paralyzed
due to an illness.
And yet - he paints.
He dies at the age of 51.
The differences between this earlier painting
and the last painting in 1874
show the differences
Berthe MORISOT (1841-1895)
Her paintings are accepted at the Salon de Paris
when she is only 23 years old.
She builds a home in Paris
where she often entertains artists & writers,
including her dear friend, Edouard Manet.
Edouard dies in 1883,
her husband in 1892,
and her sister in 1893.
There is a dark cloud cast around her
and her work as an artist.
Still - she paints.
She dies of the flu in 1895,
at 54 years old.
(Berthe Morisot, self portrait, 1885)
Vincent VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Of all the Impressionist painters,
Van Gogh is the one who inspires me the most
and who i feel was most misunderstood.
He began to paint at the age of 27,
and painted over 1000 canvases in a period of 10 years.
He also wrote over 800 letters to his best friend & brother Theo.
Vincent suffered from epilepsy and other mental issues
that would surely be treated today,
but they go untreated in the 1800's and eventually,
he is brought to an asylum in Saint Remy de Provence, in Paris
after he cuts off part of his ear.
Van Gogh, self portrait, 1887
Van Gogh, self portrait, 1889
(Van Gogh, his last self portrait, 1889,
given to his mother as a gift.)
Still, he paints.
While he is in Saint-Remy,
he paints Starry Night.
In 1890, at the age of 37,
he walks to a corn field
shoots himself in the chest,
and dies 3 days later.
His brother Theo dies only 6 months later
at the age of 33,
no doubt of loneliness.
They are buried next to one another
in Auvers, Paris.
Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime.
Today, they are worth millions.
I'm adding this footnote after i saw Lorinda's comment,
for fear that some of you
may run out & cut your wrists this afternoon...
This may sound to some like
the plight of the suffering artist
but what i find so interesting
is how despite everything,
despite how difficult or tragic
or traumatic these lives were -
they still felt the need to create.
The need for expression.
Perhaps it is not despite everything
but because of everything
that this need was so profound?
How about you?
Do you feel more creative
when all is well,
or does your art seem to take on
when there's a gray cloud above your head?
Do you use art as a way
to help you out
of the darkness,
or simply to express this darkness?
I have a curious, passionate heart.
I said so in my profile.
And hang around.
Tomorrow's post may not be so heavy.