SPIRITUALITY OF VINCENT VAN GOGH
Enthralling! Captivating! Inspirational! Informative! Spiritual! ...These were some of the words used to describe an outstanding and beautiful presentation on The Spirituality of Van Gogh by Sister Marie Therese O Toole snd.
The Presentation began in the chapel around the Lectern which was decorated with Blue and Yellow material and some of the famous artist’s paintings which captures the inner soul of the often tormented and seemingly depressed Vincent who suffered from a form of Epilepsy.
Vincent loved scripture and was indeed a preacher of it like his Calvinist father and grandfather. He continued to see God in his world around him after he had a disagreement with the institutional Church to which he never returned!
Using some of his prolific letters to his younger brother Théo, Marie Therese painted for us a most colourful, thoughtful, caring and spiritual person in Vincent Van Gogh, now famous for his artistic work
His oil painting of The Starry Night in Blue shades depicts the tall Cedar reaching to the Heavens, with bright swirls of yellow stars and planets. This masterpiece lifts the viewer into the Presence of the Creator God.
Vincent saw God in everyday ordinary people and events of his time. He captured life in his sketches and paintings which were influenced by the impressionists.
In one of his earlier works " The Potato Eaters " he depicts in a tonal painting Peasants enjoying sharing in ‘the fruits of their hands and hard work’. The Lamp shines on the descriptive faces of those engaged in this Eucharistic Encounter!
His oil paintings of The Good Samaritan and The Pieta are well known as conveying these scripture texts to The Believers of Christianity. He developed his artistic ability and techniques to allow the sacred and the ordinary to meet !
Through his tormented body and personality, which caused him to be an outcast, Vincent focused his vision of God and portrayed His God using colour. The vibrant Blue represented God’s Presence while his Strong use of Yellow signified God’s Love.
In Van Gogh’s own words .... " I was always striving to become a hero, but always striving for something that I do not have in me."
In Sr Marie Therese ‘s own words .... " Vincent’s talents and the results of them were not fully appreciated until after his death, sadly at 37 years of age.
He was a painter of peasant life: of people: of people of the land and their humble tasks. He became a spokesperson in picture for the Poor. A painter of Portraits. Eventually, he captivated on canvas what he saw as the value of the subject.
He sought the Eternal in the Temporal. His Spirituality shines out through The Work of this Brilliant, Dedicated Painter .....namely Vincent Van Gogh. "
Text and photos by Maureen Coyle snd