Saturday, March 15, 2014

Compelling Faces in Art - Vincent Van Gogh, Half Figure of an Angel (after Rembrandt), 1889.

This is from an important group of paintings executed while at Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Seeking to be reinvigorated artistically, Van Gogh did more than 30 copies of works by some of his favorite artists. But, instead of simply replicating, he sought to translate spiritual meaning and emotion of the subjects through his perspective, color, and symbolism. 

The inspiration may belong to his heros, but the works belong completely to him. 

The face of this angel, tells us so much about Van Gogh and his mind at the time in the asylum. He is the man before the angel, yet he is also looking down on himself from above. It reminds me of a passage from William Blake: “I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity.”

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