September 18, 2015

Van Gogh's Stars

I want to talk about art today, and Easter Eggs and poetry about stars.

For almost two years now I've played with this idea that God hides little Easter Eggs for us to find. I know this isn't a literal thing and maybe not the best way of explaning what I mean, but I remember having a conversation with my boyfriend about how the moments of finding God or hearing something from Him are like Easter Eggs. Since then whenever something particularly meaningful happens or I discover some new truth I'll write him to say that I found an Easter Egg.

The second part is art- Van Gogh specifically. I need to start by admitting that until today I really didn't care much about art. My criteria was "do I like this at first glance?" I'm now taking an "Aesthetic Expressions" class specifically called "Street Art" and we've been talking a lot about what art means. To be totally honest it's still not something I had much interest in.

But today we started talking about Van Gogh and the other students were discussing why people like the Starry Night picture so much, and about what they thought the picture meant. And then all of a sudden my professor starts to talk about Van Gogh's life. Which I actually knew nothing about.

I don't know if I just never learned this or if I somehow managed to forget everything I had learned. All I know is that when I think of Van Gogh I think of the posters and puzzles and calendar hanging on my high school English teacher's wall. I thought the paintings were kind of pretty, but didn't quite understand why she liked them so much. I hope she isn't too disappointed if she reads this. But anyway, those puzzles were all I knew about Van Gogh, so when the teacher said something about a cut off ear I was kind of shocked.

The story goes on and I'm not going to try and repeat it because I know I would get something wrong and my friends who are fans would be quite disappointed. But if you don't know anything about this artist look him up. Artists seem to have this common theme of depression and insanity. Van Gogh was no different.

But what I didn't expect was the story of him experience as a missionary, living with the Moraivians the way they lived with the idea that he would be like Jesus coming as a human to live with us. Of course the church at the time didn't like that idea, and eventually Van Gogh rejected the church but never quite gave up on God. I think this is a common occurrence, sadly enough.

And then my professor started to talk about this letter from Van Gogh to his brother about the meaning of colors in his paintings. He said yellow was the color that represented Jesus, blue was God's presence in the world, green represented faith and black meant sin and death. Suddenly the famous swirly painting meant so much more to me.

Suddenly I saw a painting that showed God over everything and Jesus shining through house windows and it was so beautiful. Our professor said that Van Gogh talked about finding God in the stars when he had lost hope in religion. It makes sense to me. I see God so clearly in stars. In the sky.

I've wondered why I love poetry about stars so much. Lately all the poetry I write includes some line about stars or sky, and my favorite poems all include mention of the sky. I find God in the sky, Jesus in the moon and stars. I know I am not of this world and the sky is the closest I can come to imagine heaven. The stars speak to me, as does this newfound knowledge of Van Gogh.

The stars are an excellent Easter egg. A never ending source of poetry. 

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