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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sunflowers in Mourning

Sunflowers, September 18, 2006

I took this picture over a month ago when I found that the sunflowers in my garden had turned their mammoth heads to the ground. I was immediately reminded of the cover illustration from a retrospective of Van Gogh's works that was held two years after his death. (I recently dug out the book with the image in it and found that the sunflower itself is wilted, and the head is turned out to face the viewer, not pointed at the ground.*) Van Gogh's last words - "The sadness will last forever" - also came to mind.

I'm no Van Gogh expert, but the more I read about him, the less I like him as a person. Put bluntly, Van Gogh was a dick. Of course, it wasn't entirely his fault: he suffered from depression of one form or another, and his self-centeredness bordering on narcissism, his willingness to use those around him (especially his brother Theo) to fulfill his basic needs, and his inabilty to cope with the daily traumas of life may all have been symptoms of this depression.

I'm not writing this as a public service announcement on depression. I'm not writing it as a personal attack on a great artist, or even to make any broader statements about people struggling with depression, in general or in any of the many specific cases of which I'm aware.

No, I'm writing it because I just loaded a bunch of pictures from my camera onto my computer, and this was one of them, and I wanted to share it with you.

*Here is the illustration:

1 comment:

rimalicious said...

Very cool picture. I like the title too.