Nov 10, 2019carolwu96 rated this title 4 out of 5 stars
After reading The Agony and The Ecstasy, I was determined to get my hands on another biographical fiction by Irving Stone, and he did not disappoint! Again he completely swept me off my feet with his vivid, vibrant, emotional writing style.
As is the case with Michelangelo in The Agony and The Ecstasy, Van Gogh is tormented by his own passion and yet glories in it. It is also not only a story about loneliness, fraternal support, and artistic struggles, but also includes discussions on the “correct” way of creating art.
Obviously I think there’s no single “right” way to interpret/evaluate/do art, but this book made me reflect on the fluctuations of celebrated artists. For instance, although we now think Van Gogh was not appreciated by his contemporaries because they were not “enlightened” enough to see his merits, many artists in history have risen and fallen in respectability, and even giants like Van Gogh can fall into oblivion again. Similarity, artists that are not very popular right now could rise in the future, and those generations will also think us “unenlightened.”
After all, our interpretations and opinions are products of our time, and are limited as our times are like any other.
But I digress. Overall I really liked this book. The only reason I gave The Agony and The Ecstasy 5 stars and this one 4 is that this is a little too long and emotionally encumbering, but that is only to be expected because he is Van Gogh. It’s not Irving Stone’s fault: just a matter of personal preference.
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