Van Gogh:A New Way of Seeing

Never has a film name been more apt. 

Kind of liked Van Gogh in a “oh, I should really like him because he is a tortured genius” way.  

I’ve been to the museum in Amsterdam; used his artwork in the classroom to help with descriptive writing and even had a little cry at the end of ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ (Dare you not to shed a tear!)

However, this film by Exhibition on Screen elevated my view of Van Gogh’s work.  His use of colour and the techniques he employed feel like they should not work…but they do and how!  The way in which he attacks the canvas is not the work of a ‘madman’ but of someone who could see light in a unique way.  

The film explored his life alongside the art and to see the development of his work was fascinating.  All the way through, I kept thinking about how driven he was in trying to find a solution for his own inner thoughts and feelings.  He tried religion, he even taught but it was in becoming an artist that he found the release he was looking for.  

I was reminded of Emile Zola’s novel, ‘The Masterpiece’, which I have taken off the shelf to read again after 15 years.  It will be interesting to compare notes on this and Van Gogh’s life. 


Oh, and just to satisfy my Doctor nerdiness, here is the speech the curator gives at the end when The Doctor brings Vincent to the future:

Well… um… big question, but, to me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.


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