Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
– Pablo Picasso
Eyes For Painting
Story Of Vincent Van Gogh
His younger brother, hearing that not a single painting had sold, gave some money to a man — a friend of his not known to Vincent van Gogh — and told him to go and purchase at least one painting: “That will give him some satisfaction. The poor man is dying; the whole day he is painting, starving for painting but nobody is ready to purchase his painting — nobody sees anything in it.” Because to see something in Vincent van Gogh’s painting you need the eye of a painter of the caliber of van Gogh; less than that will not do. His paintings will seem strange to you.
His trees are painted so high that they go above the stars; stars are left far behind. Now, you will think that this man is mad… trees going up higher than the stars? Have you seen such trees anywhere? When Vincent van Gogh was asked, “Your trees always go beyond the stars…?” he said, “Yes, because I understand trees. I have felt always that trees are the ambition of the earth to reach the stars. Otherwise why? To touch the stars, to feel the stars, to go beyond the stars — this is the desire of the earth. The earth tries hard, but cannot fulfill the desire. I can do it. The earth will understand my paintings, and I don’t care about you, whether you understand or not.”
Now, this kind of paintings you cannot sell. The man his brother had sent came. Van Gogh was very happy: at last somebody had come to purchase. But soon his happiness turned into despair because the man looked around, picked one painting and gave the money.
Vincent van Gogh said, “But do you understand the painting? You have picked it up so casually, you have not looked; I have hundreds of paintings. You have not even bothered to look around; you have simply picked one that was accidentally in front of you. I suspect that you are sent by my brother. Put the painting back, take your money. I will not sell the painting to a man who has no eyes for painting. And tell my brother never to do such a thing again.”
The man was puzzled how he managed to figure it out. He said, “You don’t know me, how did you figure it out?”
He said, “That’s too simple. I know my brother wants me to feel some consolation. He must have manipulated you — and this money belongs to him — because I can see that you are blind as far as paintings are concerned. And I am not one to sell paintings to blind people; I cannot exploit a blind man and sell him a painting. What will he do with it? And tell my brother also that he also does not understand painting, otherwise he would not have sent you.”
When the brother came to know, he came to apologize. He said, “Instead of giving you a little consolation, I have wounded you. I will never do such a thing again.”
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
– Thomas Merton