Salvador Dali’s Melting Clocks.
These are the classic icons of the art world that we often come across in our daily lives, in forms other than the stretched canvas. These iconic masterpieces are so popular that they represent the art-world to the world. But there are many more paintings and work by the same masters that, I’d say, are far more captivating, beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms is one such masterpiece. Having studied Van Gogh at length, his works, life, including closer to his life fiction, I am surprised how I missed out on this classic painting that tells me a lot more than biography on him would. Guess I missed the Almond Blossoms midst Sunflowers, Irises, Open Fields and the portraits.
One fine afternoon, I chanced upon Almond Blossoms. Strange that I saw this painting on TV on Art Beat on NDTV Good Times. Yes, my jaw dropped then.
Almond Blossoms came across as a complete surprise as most of Van Gogh’s paintings were known for melancholy and loneliness. Painted upon good tidings of the birth of his nephew, Almond Blossoms is an unusual piece from Van Gogh’s collection. This turquoise and ivory masterpiece seems like a breath of fresh air in Vincent’s’ as well as our lives.
No one can help but admire the beauty of the panting. Watching Almond Blossoms is like having a conversation in your mind. What draws and trains the eye are not the ivory white blossoms, but the knots and gnarls of the branches in simple brush strokes.
Almond Blossoms branches are twisted and gnarled like a complicated mind with few blossoms of hope. I wonder if it is my imagination and my bent of mind going there instead of landing on the feather blossoms. In simple brush strokes, Van Gogh had managed to complete a true picture of the moment. The myriad expressions he must have felt, at that one moment, are for us to experience.
A sudden departure from his color palette, strokes and hues, Van Gogh has conjured up an entirely different painting. It shows how much gloom was in his life and a piece of small news made him paint in a different way, conveying a rare emotion that he felt. Wonder how Van Gogh’s paintings would have been if he was a happy person.
His limited color palette is another surprise. His turquoise blues, sepias, white, pink, black, and greens are nothing but born of his color mixing mastery. Something tells me that Vincent must have ran out of colors while he painted it and therefore we can across this rare muted color palette with many tones in between – making Almond Blossoms an absolute rare one.
The innate simplicity of the branches and the brush strokes, the amount of color on the brush, are all to engrossing to mull over. Almond Blossoms is a painting you can quietly stare at without a lump in your throat but with a lot more going on in your head. Many art lovers who have seen this painting live have said to have felt mixed emotions watching it.
Vincent van Gogh Stichting, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam now houses this masterpiece. If I ever get to goto Amsterdam, it will be to see Almond Blossoms amongst the other masterpieces. I guess I would need at least a week to spend my time in the museum. Here is short description of the painting in the museum website:
On January 31, 1890, Theo wrote to Vincent of the birth of his son, whom he had named Vincent Willem. Van Gogh, who was extremely close to his younger brother, immediately set about making him a painting of his favorite subject: blossoming branches against a blue sky. The gift was meant to hang over the couple’s bed. As a symbol of this new life, Vincent chose an almond tree, which blooms early in southern regions, announcing the coming spring as early as February.
True to his nature, Vincent Van Gogh had unknowlingly created this masterpiece. He died the same year. Isn’t this painting a glimpse of, perhaps, one happy moment he savored before his death?
The best book that I came across on Van Gogh, is Irving Stone’s Lust for Life which I would recommend you to read it if you want to understand his paintings more.