Suggested Reading Time: 10 days
First of all, a disclaimer on the category of this book: This book cannot be regarded as pure fiction. The classification it follows is that of a fictional biography. The reason for this is that the book is based on the life of the great Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gough. The author based the book on the tortured life of Van Gough, who was one of the greatest impressionist painters of all time, though he never achieved this greatness during the course of his life. The narrative of the book is all fictional, but created from the fragments of Van Gogh’s life.
The book can be laborious to read in parts but then has immense instructive potential for any young mind. It teaches one the value of steadfast perseverance for one’s ultimate aim in life and a dogged resistance to the potential misleading opportunities that arise in the life of every individual.
The hardships faced by Van Gough in his life can be very depressing to read at times, and the sheer persecution he went through makes you question whether it is worth the effort to go for the dreams. But then we all know the worth of his work 120 years down the line.
A few immortal quotes from the book:
- “Art is amoral; so is life. For me there are no obscene pictures or books; there are only poorly conceived and poorly executed ones.”
- “First, we think all truth is beautiful, no matter how hideous its face may seem. We accept all of nature, without any repudiation. We believe there is more beauty in a harsh truth than in a pretty lie, more poetry in earthiness than in all the salons of Paris. We think pain is good because it is the most profound of all human feelings. We think sex is beautiful even when portrayed by a harlot and a pimp. We put character above ugliness, pain above prettiness and hard, crude reality above all the wealth in France. We accept life in its entirety without making moral judgments. We think the prostitute is as good as the countess, the concierge as good as the general, the peasant as good as the cabinet minister, for they all fit into the pattern of nature and are woven into the design of life!”
- “The one who has not seen Paris in the morning does not know how beautiful it is.”
- “An artist does not have to think about what he is doing.”
- “Money makes the man a beast.”
- “A person may paint or talk about painting but he cannot do both at the same time.”
Well, if not anything else, the above should give you sufficient reason to read this book.
Why read this book?
Well, there are some very simple reasons why you should read this book:
- Exposes you terminology of ART, which in turn would help you read passages based on the subject of art.
- The author generally maintains a high standard of writing, and few parts of the book require intense concentration. This makes it perfect material for CAT/GRE/GMAT RCs.