So was the painting real or digital?
One of the amazing parts of the film is that the whole film are paintings in the style of Vincent Van Gogh of his whole life. At first I was thinking it was digital, but you could tell it wasn't by the remains of the images that were painted over since the artists were using the same painting for certain segments. The quantity of paintings if laid out would cover all of London and Manhattan completely since there were 66,000 painting images in the film. The director Dorota was inspired as a painter and film maker to do this film. They used actors to film digitally off green screen and then converting them to oil paintings in the style of Van Gough. They used 60 painters to complete this enormous task. They use actual Van Gough paintings in the various evolutions of Van Gough to reenact the film sequences.
Its a hard question to answer, since I regularly paint and would not be able to separate that from my analysis. That said, I think the story has enough meat on it to get over this unusual technique for capturing the life of Vincent via Armand Roulin played by Douglas Booth. Roulin is going back to deliver a letter from Van Gough and starts to uncover a possible mystery surrounding the artist's life end: was it truly a suicide or a murder? I had never heard of this angle in Van Gough's life, so found this fascinating way to tell the life of the artist beyond the art to how he interacted with other artists and the villagers close to the time of his death.
In his short life as a painter. You have to know he didn't start painting until 27 and died by age 37, so he could only paint and draw for 10 years. In this very short time, he painted over 800 paintings and several hundred drawings or about 4 works a week. He usually painted every single day. Additionally, he was continually writing letters to his brother Theo and wrote over 600 letters over his life.
What was the prognosis of Van Gogh's mental health?
In the day, they had yet to really study the human condition of psychology outside of the classroom. There were actually many theories to his general sadness: epilepsy, bipolar disorder, sunstroke, acute intermittent porphyria, lead poisoning, and Ménière's disease. My theory is that he had severe challenges meeting with gallerists and collectors, which led to major frustration with not selling his work. There's only so much failure the human mind can take. The amazing thing is he was able to paint so many works despite only selling one in his life. Only after his passing and his brother's death was Theo's widow able to unload all the paintings of Van Gough. Of course, now these paintings are worth $50M and higher per piece. Its the classic tale of a failed poverty of a mad artist.
How did the audience react to this work?
They stayed until all the credits started to roll and most people clapped for the film. I would say the last time I saw this was when Star Wars came out or how people were taken with the Harry Potter series. Since all the characters in the film are real characters and painters, it really adds to the depth of the sadness of his sad life and final death. He truly was an amazing painter that has been portrayed in a great manner in this film. You definitely will need a good cry after seeing it, which likely will mean lower audience, but its a true masterpiece of film. I definitely want to rewatch the film since I missed the first 10 minutes and read more on Van Gogh.
“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”
― Vincent van Gogh
How has the work of Van Gogh influenced your own work?
I think all painters have a true passion for contrasting color learned from Van Gogh. There is no orange without purple he would say. In my Architectural Abstraction style you can see elements of this color theory applied. In the painting below I have oranges contrasted with purple which strongly contrast against each other.