Thursday, September 27, 2012

W.H. Auden on Vincent Van Gogh

Auden wrote perhaps the most famous poem about a painting, his "Musee des Beaux Arts," and used visual art as a theme in many poems. His review of Van Gogh's Complete Correspondence was later edited and published as Van Gogh: A Self-Portrait. Here is an excerpt: 
"The 19th century created the myth of the Artist as Hero, the man who sacrifices his health and happiness to his art and in compensation claims exemption from all social responsibilities and norms of behavior.

"At first sight Van Gogh seems to fit the myth exactly. He dresses and lives like a tramp, he expects to be supported by others, he works at his painting like a fiend, he goes mad. Yet the more one reads these letters, the less like the myth he becomes.

"He knows he is neurotic and difficult but he does not regard this as a sign of superiority, but as an illness like heart disease...."
Read more here

No comments:

Post a Comment