• shawn hardegree

May 4th, Vangogh and I

Vangogh, Orwell & 2020




During the last few weeks the book of Isaiah keeps coming up in my life. I have been re-reading, "Letters to Theo", a book of letters between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother. Vincent spoke of the painting, Still life with the Bible. The whole letter is not in "Letters to Theo”. Theo thought the painting was dark.


 Still life with Bible, I believe relates to our current climate. Van Gogh paints his fathers Bible. His father was a Protestant minister. Van Gogh painted this shortly after his fathers death. He placed his own copy of Emile Zola’s, La Joie de Vivre next to it. Zola’s book was a kind of “bible” for modern life at the time. This book symbolizes the different worldview of Van Gogh and his father.


 For Vincent this was a dark time in his life. He was struggling with his fathers death, and his own belief’s. We see that the Bible is the prominent item in the composition. The candle is burnt out symbolizing his fathers passing. Emile Zolas book is placed in front of the Bible. The Bible is open to the book of Isiah.


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© Shawn Hardegree 2016-2020