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Here’s why Vincent Van Gogh always painted people and the environment

If you had the chance to go to Van Gogh Alive: The Experience, chances are you immediately saw the wall that says, “The sunflower is mine, in a way.” together with Vincent’s illustration of sunflowers in a vase. You also wouldn’t miss the large wall with a night skyline along with his quote “I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.”

This year, Van Gogh Alive: The Experience finally came to Manila. Van Gogh Alive, a “multi-sensory” exhibit, has been shown in over 30 countries and visited by thousands of art enthusiasts and fans alike.

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The exhibit presents Vincent Van Gogh’s life and works in true 2019 fashion—through projectors and lights and sounds. His artworks are projected on the white walls in the room and the stories and his state of mind for some works are also presented.

Going through the projection room, one would notice a particular detail: Van Gogh’s paintings are all about nature. 

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Artworks of Nature and People

Most of Van Gogh’s art features either flowers, the sky, a landscape, or himself. It’s his signature style: he’d paint his environment, or a person he saw somewhere. He almost never painted anything else. The projections showed paintings that were of farmers, random streets, and of course, flowers. No matter what style or technique he used, all his subjects were always related to humans and nature.

Van Gogh’s multitude of paintings and sketches of nature can be easily associated with his fondness with works of realism painters of his time such as Jean-Francois Millet. But looking deeper into his background, one would see that his inclination towards nature is more than just because of realism.

A Different Kind of Spirituality

Just like all of us, Van Gogh felt his calling early in life. Despite struggling with his identity, he knew that he was meant to follow his father’s footsteps—as he was born to a religious family with his dad being a pastor. 

As he grew older, Vincent pursued a path to spirituality—a different one at that. Convinced that spirituality lies in human emotions, Vincent became pantheistic or someone who believes that nature and human history are the embodiments of God. This also explains his love for artworks that feature nature and people.


Text by Katie Rojas. 

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