Friday, June 13, 2008

The Starry Night

I don't know much about art.

I remember a little from school. The different movements, various artists, so forth, so on.

What I do know is what moves me. Don't laugh, but I almost always tear up over a particular Norman Rockwell print. He's not considered serious art, I know. But it's sentimental. And it's pretty.

Serious art? Well, for me that's always been Van Gogh and "The Starry Night." I don't have any grand insights on what Post-Impressionism means. I just know I love it.

Thought about the Dutch painter yesterday. Fooling around on YouTube, I found a masterpiece. Don McLean and the late, great Chet Atkins teamed up on "Nashville Now" years ago to work magic on McLean's "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)." Run don't walk over to the Web site and check it out. Such a pretty lyric.

That got me to thinking I need to find a print of "The Starry Night" to hang in the condo. It also made me want to hunt down a copy of "Lust for Life," the historical novel based on Van Gogh's letters to his brother. Sure enough, the library has a copy.

This world is cruel to its artists. We don't pay them, we dismiss them as outcasts, and yet we still reap the beauty they convey. It's cruel, too, because artists often view the world through a romantic lens, which more often than not leads to disillusionment, a broken heart, insanity or some combination of all three.

McLean understood this, and perhaps said more than he knew in his sad little song.

But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you...

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