Friday, November 3, 2017

But if you could just see the beauty

My wife has started working on Saturdays and Sundays, which for a while left me stuck at home with not much to do. Until I realized I could go out and watch movies, so that's what I've done the last two Sundays. I've talked about Kingsman 2, but most recently I saw Loving Vincent, which is also good, though quite different.

This is one to see on a big screen, if at all. What I liked about it most is some of the quotations from Van Gogh given near the end of the film. Here's one:
Work is going quite well – I’m struggling with a canvas begun a few days before my indisposition. A reaper, the study is all yellow, terribly thickly impasted, but the subject was beautiful and simple. I then saw in this reaper – a vague figure struggling like a devil in the full heat of the day to reach the end of his toil – I then saw the image of death in it, in this sense that humanity would be the wheat being reaped. So if you like it’s the opposite of that Sower I tried before. But in this death nothing sad, it takes place in broad daylight with a sun that floods everything with a light of fine gold.
The idea of death as a reaper is hardly new, but death with a sun that floods everything with a light of fine gold, and nothing sad in it, is a beautiful idea. If it isn't a lie.

Here's another, which reminded me of Joy Division:
What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.
Finally, this idea of walking to the stars reminded me of Wittgenstein talking about going to the moon and a rose having teeth:
Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map.
Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France?
Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive any more than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means.
To die quietly of old age would be to go there on foot.

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