Henry Fuseli and the Nightmare of Unrequited Love

I have long stared at the question of unrequited love and what makes this particular type of love so painful and obsessive. I started drafts. I discarded them. I came back to this question and gave it another go only to find my writing out of touch. The truth is I do not know much…

Van Gogh, Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossoms, and the Impermanence of Life

Reading time: 20 minutes “If we study Japanese art, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic, and intelligent who spends his time doing what?,” wondered 35-year-old Vincent van Gogh in a September 1888 letter to his brother, Theo. Admiring the intrinsic wisdom of the Japanese artist who is unanchored from the dispassionate, reasoning…

Paul Gauguin – Self-Portrait with Portrait of Émile Bernard (1888)

Three friends. Three beards. Three paintings. In August 1888, a sensitive, anxious, yet quite ambitious 20-year-old man set out to walk by foot the more than 500 km distance between Paris and Pont-Aven, in order to paint with French artist Paul Gauguin. His beautiful younger sister, 17-year-old Madeleine, accompanied him. His name was Émile Bernard…

Vincent van Gogh – Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890)

After having a severe nervous breakdown during which he cuts his own ear and being institutionalized in an asylum for a year, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh moves to northern France, to Auvers-sur-Oise, to start afresh. He was hoping that his mental frailty was a consequence of the strong impressions and strident colors of Arles…