Van Gogh’s sunflowers are works of art that celebrate one of nature’s most beautiful blooms, sunflowers.  Even though Van Gogh suffered from depression his entire life, he did have a brief happy period when he painted sunflowers in Arles, France.  He captured the essence of the sunflower, an ethereal bloom, at every stage of its growth.  By using bright yellow colors, Van Gogh truly made sunflowers exhibit the happiness that they bring to us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

When I plant sunflowers in my garden every summer, I an always thinking of Van Gogh’s sunflowers.  He certainly was inspired by the countryside of Arles, France a place where fields of sunflowers grow wild.  In 1888, Van Gogh captured the beauty of Arles by painting olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers.  Van Gogh’s tie in France inspired him to produce 200 paintings and more than 100 drawings as well as watercolors.  One of the any paintings that he created was the Still Life:  Vase with Twelve Sunflowers (1888).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Vincent Van Gogh (30 March 1853-29 July 1890) already had the blood of an artist running through his veins.  There were art dealers in Van Gogh’s family. Van Gogh’s great uncle Vincent (1729-1802) was a sculptor.  Some people believe that Vincent was named after his great uncle.                                                                                                                                                                                     

As a man with artistic genius, Van Gogh also had a rebellious streak.  When he attended classes at Antwerp Academy, Eugene Siberdt, his instructor, asked him to draw Venus of Milo, and Van Gogh produced his own version of Milo.  He painted her as a Flemish woman.  When Siberdt critiqued Van Gogh’s interpretation of Milo, Van Gogh became so upset that he never returned to the art school again.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

As art lowers, we should be thankful that Van Gogh did not listen to his art teacher and followed the beat of his own drum.  Any good artist can simply copy a work of art; however, a real artist is one who is able to create an original piece of art.  Van Gogh produced unique masterpieces with his own unique style, a feat that few artists can ever achieve. Van Gogh’s sunflowers have their own distinctive touch inspired by nature.  They are much more than just blooms; they are an Gogh’s sunflowers                                                                                                                                                                                            

Every single Van Gogh painting has a style that defines his character and passion.  Besides Van Gogh’s sunflowers, I love his painting, The Starry Night.  The sky that he painted is not peaceful but quite stormy.  I think all those whirls in the painting, that are never ending, are symbolic of how an Gogh’s mind worked.  He suffered from mental illness all of his life and never found mental stability.  After an argument with his friend Gaugin, he cut part of his right ear off.  Due to his serious mental illness, Van Gogh shot himself and committed suicide on July 29 1890.  He was just 37 years old.                                                                                                                                                                                            

What he left the world was his legacy of paintings.  The irony is that he did not find commercial success for his art work, but all of his paintings were masterpieces.  Van Gogh gave his 1889 Portrait of Doctor Felix to Dr Rey.   Surprisingly, Dr Rey did not really like Van Gogh’s painting.  He even used the painting to repair a chicken coup and then he gave it away.  Portrait of Doctor Felix is now housed at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and has an estimated value of over $50 million.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Today all of Van Gogh’s paintings are priceless.  At auctions his paintings always sell for millions.  On March 30 1987, Yasu Goto paid the equivalent of US $39,921,750 for Van Gogh’s Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers at Christie’s London.  Today this painting is housed at the Seji Fogo Yasuda Memorial Museum of modern Art in Tokyo.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Across the world, many museums house Van Gogh’s paintings.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s version of What Field with Cypresses, which was acquired in 1993, has a value of $57 million.  The Van Gogh Museum, which opened in Amsterdam in 1973, is one of the most popular museums in the Netherlands.  Dedicated to Van Gogh, this museum contains Van Gogh’s largest collection of art works.  Every year 15 million tourists visit the Van Gogh Museum.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

On Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, we value art and the important role that it plays in our lives.  As art lovers, we know how relaxing it is to spend a day at the museum looking at masterpieces and examining the meaning of life through art work.  Since many artists get their inspiration from Mother Nature, I  believe that the beauty of nature inspires true art.  As my sunflowers grow in my summer garden, the different stages of their growth remind me of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. When he painted sunflowers, Van Gogh was so jubilant.  If only that happiness would have lasted for Van Gogh.  When I see a stormy and dark sky, I think of Van Gogh’s painting, The Starry Night and how that sky reflected the dark thoughts in his mind.  Most of us overcome our demons of depression, and we are eventually able to see those bright stars, even on a dark night.  Unfortunately, Van Gogh never did.. .