23 Feb He could not sell a single painting in his whole life… (Osho) | Part A’
The poets have defined art as for its own sake, there is nothing else beyond it: art for art’s sake.
Art for Art’s sake…
And Life for Life’s sake!
It will not appeal to the mediocre at all because he counts things in terms of money, position, power. Is your poetry going to make you the prime minister of the country? — then it is meaningful.
But in fact your poetry may make you just a beggar, because who is going to purchase your poetry?
I am acquainted with many kinds of geniuses who are living like beggars for the simple reason that they did not accept the mediocre way of life, and they did not allow themselves to become schizophrenic. They are living — of course they have a joy which no politician can ever know, they have a certain radiance which no billionaire is going to know.
They have a certain rhythm to their heart of which these so-called religious people have no idea. But as far as their outside is concerned, they have been reduced by the society to live like beggars.
I would like you to remember one great, perhaps the greatest, Dutch painter: Vincent van Gogh.His father wanted him to become a religious minister, to live a life of respect — comfortable, convenient — and not only in this world, in the other world after death too. But Vincent van Gogh wanted to become a painter.
His father said, “You are mad!”
He said, “That may be. To me, you are mad. I don’t see any significance in becoming a minister because all I would be saying would be nothing but lies. Of course it is respectable, but that kind of respect is not for me; I will not be rejoicing in it. It will be a torture to my soul.”
The father threw him out.
He started painting — he is the first modern painter. You can draw a line at Vincent van Gogh: before him painting was ordinary. Vincent van Gogh starts a totally new dimension.
He could not sell a single painting in his whole life.
Not a single person could see that there was anything in his paintings.
His younger brother used to send him money; enough so that he did not die of starvation, just enough for seven days’ food every week — because if he gave him enough for a whole month he would finish it within two or three days, and the remaining days he would be starving. Every week he would send money to him. And what Vincent van Gogh was doing was for four days he would eat, and for the three days in between those four days he was saving money for paints, canvasses.
Three days starving, and van Gogh would purchase the paints and canvasses.
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, 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.”
From Ignorance to Innocence
Image: Kirk as Van Gogh Minimal Illustration based on TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar schedule, showing Lust for Life (1956) with Kirk Douglas by chrisphillips25 | http://eatsleepdraw.com/post/158642139748