Bucket List #51: Van Gogh-ing to the Museum

Van Gogh Museum- Amsterdam (Photo by. Danielle Spera)

There are people from history that I have always had an appreciation for. I often look to these people for inspiration, encouragement, and reassurance. Many of those historical figures I can relate to on some level. Learning about the work, the lives, and the struggles of other people teaches me more than the present. Shakespeare showed me that tragedy can be comedic and beautiful Amelia Earhart showed me that no barrier is strong enough to keep you from greatness. I have learned so much from history and the people who’ve lived through it. however, there has always been one person from history that I have always had a fondness for.

It all began when a six-year-old me was walking to the cafeteria for lunch. Throughout the hallway heading towards the cafeteria at my school there were many framed photos of famous artwork. You had your Monet’s, Dali, Picasso, Da Vinci. You name it, I would bet money there was a copy of it in the hall. But one photo always stuck out to me. It was much more unique from most of the other work on the walls. It was full of colors and swirls, and shapes that my un-ripened brain had spent about a year trying to process. It was always my favorite picture on the wall.

The photo peaked my interest and I tried to ask more about it from the one person six-year-old me knew had all of the answers, my mom. She told me about this crazy man with hair that was more red then mine, cut off his own ear, and spent most of his days alone in a wheat field. That isn’t exactly the accurate history of one Vincent Van Gogh, but in my mind that was enough to catch my interest as a child, and my obsession has never stopped.

In December od 2019- pre-COVID- I found myself traveling to Amsterdam along with my favorite (and only) sister. We bonded over waffles, creepy sleeping accommodations, and of course the beautify and vibrant art scene the city is known for. I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam for so many reasons, and one of those is the Van Gogh art museum. I have so many prints of Van gogh’s work in my apartment and office. I look to many of these images for inspiration and comfort so it is no wonder why I was so adimemt on visiting the museum and seeing all of his work in person. 

Photo- from Instagram- @Danielle.My.Bell

Van Gogh was an impressionist painter who lived on the outskirts of France during the late 19th century. He redefined the laws of art and expression in a time where realism was the ideal standard of art in Europe. Van Gogh lived his life broke, ignored, and alone with his own demons for a majority of his time. Although we regard Vincent Van Gogh as one of the most famous painters of all time, he unfortunately never got to experience the fame and appreciation of his works. He made no money, no noteriety, and nothing but hundreds upon hundreds of work that he left behind.

Van Gogh Museum- Amsterdam (Photo by. Danielle Spera)

One reason I am so fond of Vincent is his documented struggles with mental health throughout his life. He unfortunately lived in a time where mental health was in its infancy and often would go ignored and untreated. Because of these issues and the eccentricity of being an artist, many people didn’t see Vincent as a human being; only as something to ridicule and ignore. 

I too have struggles my my mental health, as this is one of the main topics on my blog. I also feel disregarded and ignored by the world at time, which I think is something we can all relate to. Like, Vincent I too try to find creative outlets with dealing with my emotions and struggles.

I have learned so much from the crazy man who painted in wheat fields on the outskirts of a small French town. I learned that even if my work is never recognized, popular, or profitable it shouldn’t stop me from creating. I learned that even in madness and suffering you can still see the beauty and wonder in the world. I learned that even when the world is unkind, that doesn’t mean you have to be as well. 

Thank you crazy man, Vincent Van Gogh for the inspiration, the motivation, and for sharing your amazing mind with the world.

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