What I learnt from Loving Vincent

Art exhibition in Singapore. ARTualize is the only art gallery in Singapore that lets you rent paintings for your home. Singapore artist Low Hai Hong having an impromptu painting session with students he met in a park in Shanghai.

 

I caught the movie Loving Vincent on its last day of showing at Shaw cinema.  It was a weekday afternoon and I had the cinema much to myself.  I was eager to watch the movie, having read glowing reviews about it. 
 
It was an eye opener, seeing the paintings, with all their brushstrokes, coming alive.  The marvel that the movie was “painted” continued long after I left the cinema.  I was touched by the dedication of the painters working for years on this huge “canvas”.  This was also how Vincent van Gogh, as with many other artists, created their paintings - hours of lonely toil in the studio solidifying that idea in the mind, relishing the creation process but with lingering thoughts of doubt. 
 
The movie told the story of Vincent van Gogh’s death using several of his paintings.  I was struck by how art can be used to tell an artist’s life.  The artist’s paintings provided records of the events that happened to him - the portraits tell us who he met, the landscapes tell us where he went, the still lifes tell us what he had around him. 
 
Seeing some of the famous paintings spring to life was exhilarating; Postman Roulin, The Night Café, Doctor Gachet, Starry Night. The more I learnt about these paintings as they moved along the storyline in the movie, particularly how and why Vincent van Gogh painted them, the deeper my admiration for them.  I realized that knowing the artist and his story helps to tighten the connection to the painting and heighten the enjoyment of the painting. 
 
Thanks Loving Vincent.  For providing a spectacular visual treat, for realizing a fantasy of a painting coming to live, for triggering insights on how to better appreciate art. 


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