I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.’ Vincent Van Gogh
Questions for Discussion
- What was Van Gogh’s background? How did it contribute to his calling?
- How old was he when he decided to be a painter? Had he any training? Then why did he think he could do it?
- What did his family think of his decision?
- What was his relationship with his brother Theo?
- What did other artists think of him?
- What did he think of himself?
- What response did he want his paintings to elicit?
- Did this happen?
- Do you get why The Potato Eaters is his first success?
- Why did he idolize Gauguin?
- Could you have lived with Van Gogh?
- What did Van Gogh mean when he said that his illness was “both destroyer and midwife?”
- Now they would have given him chemicals to cure his mental illness. Would it have been worth it?
- Why does the narrator Schama believe Wheat Field with Crows is the first modern painting?
- Schama states that Van Gogh’s work is a “consolation for our mortality through the relish of the gift of life.” What does this mean? Do you agree?
- Do you believe that if he had lived he would he have been successful?
- What kept him from success? His paintings are now worth hundreds of millions, why the change?