by Cassiano Ribeiro Santos
In a doubtful authorship letter, showed with proud by the Argentinian collector Dario Iblanes, Van Gogh comments to his brother an old adage of his time: "Life imitates Art", confesses that this is his obssession and the great criterion of evaluation of the artistic genious, as follows: see at random, a picturesque landscape and feel it as an imitation of a painting irreflectively preserved in the memory. Wondering about the crystaline Flandres painters, he remembered that, many times, when he was wandering in certain domestic environments in Holland, he was assaulted by an abrupt sensation of being in a painting by Vermer, Van Der Mer or Van Dyck. Like a ´dejá-vu´ this sensation suspended the laces of the scenery with the world, the belief of having around a near and orderly universe, that is just our ordinary intuition of the reality. The reality itself seemed to emanate from the remembered painting from which the present perception was no more than a detailed imitation. Not even for this reason the environment lost its delight; on the contrary, detached from the ordinary world, the perceived scenery shone in its plenty and singularity as in a dream or in a masterpiece for..."the fraternal essence of the art and dream is nothing else than the power that the image has of detaching from the motor trails where slides on the ordinary perceptions and to stand, revealing its infinitive perspectives and deepness".... From this inverted point of view, the great paintings of the human art become perfect and hypostatic models, platonic ideas finally encarnalized and fallen from the sky. Nature reveals then to our eyes its secret finality: to imitate with perfection the art of paints and paintbrushes. In this letter, Van Gogh narrates a wonderful episode when walking in the Arles fields, he saw each fallen leaf as a croqui, each tree without leaves as a first drawing and the whole woods as a copy from a giant picture and prevised under the roseate fog of the sunrise. Paul Cézanne seemed to have had a similar intuition when he defined a mountain like a piece of land that stands there to be painted. After reading this letter, I wondered about this obstinacy from Van Gogh in painting a picture where the landscape, used as an inspiration, was seen in its atmospheric variations, its cromatism and its lines, like an effort from the bewitched nature in spoiling a painting painted by him. Based on the terminal date of this letter, I imagined Van Gogh painting his last picture, "Crows in the wealt field ". It was necessary a little of imprecision and a lot of movement to exist imitation in such a dynamic landscape like that. He looks for something more gracious and flexible than a simple representation, he wants the exact degree of intensity and paints the crows flying over the welt field like dark angels in the enlightened heaven. His spirit is disturbed, for the inferior problems of the human condition, that Antonin Artaud called evil forces, house his soul as well. Against them, he carried a pistol in his pocket for, in his deep lucidness, he knew that there weren´t evil forces in the world that resist to a well-set bullet; he didn´t have time to waste with his spiritual pains and his instinct told him that, if he suffered, something alive out there was the real cause.The picture would be ready in a few hours.It was of a great beauty and it seemed that, at any moment, the crows in the wealt field would fly scared, the nature offering him that splendid sensation already experienced of being inside a picture. Knowing to be the author of the painting and of the supposed arrangement in the nature forces, would intensify his contentment...he would feel like a magnificent wizard! It was necessary to make the crows fly over the welt field. Van Gogh drew his pistol. In the last instant, he felt there was something left in the scenery: he himself! It was impossible to paint a painter painting himsef infinitely...If he committed an aesthetic suicide, definitely leaving the scene or if he did it for other motives, nobody could know, but certainly in the instants after the shot, in the flight of the crows over the wealt field, Van Gogh could maybe experiment a non-descriptive dream sensation and divinity that worth a whole life of pain and contrarieties.