In Vincent van Gogh’s perspective on Christ there is something out of ordinary and different from tons of thoughts and views on Christ that exist in philosophy, literature, and theology. Van Gogh was not a regular person. That’s why his point of view on Christ was unlike others. Perhaps he saw some similarities between his life and the life of Christ. For example, a lot of people viewed Jesus Christ as a crazy person during his life; Van Gogh as well experienced the same attitude from others. Jesus was often not understood by people, even those who was close to him, Van Gogh faced similar attitude during his lifetime. Christ built relationships with marginal people, and we can see a comparable behavior in Van Gogh.
We also could see contradictory parallels in the death of Christ and death of Van Gogh. Christ gave his life as a sacrifice; van Gogh took his life from himself. Undeniably, there is big difference between self-sacrifice and suicide. (I believe that life that is given to anyone is sacred. It doesn’t matter under what condition it should be continued. Nobody has the right to stop it, but I don’t see a reason to judge what Van Gough did. I don’t have the right and I don’t want to “send” him to the hell.) People started to honor and consider Christ to be a Savior after his death and resurrection. Van Gogh became popular and got acknowledgment as an artist after his death as well. A lot of people still don’t recognize and don’t understand what Christ has done. Many people have the same attitude towards Van Gogh artworks.
Van Gogh, as an artist, viewed Christ as the greatest Artist. He was right because Christ, as an unprecedented Artist, created and still creates “everything new” and everlasting. Look what he said about it:
“Christ alone, of all the philosophers, magicians, etc., has affirmed eternal life as the most important certainty, the infinity of time, the futility of death, the necessity and purpose of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as an artist greater than all other artists, scorning marble and clay and paint, working in the living flesh. In other words, this peerless artist, scarcely conceivable with the blunt instrument of our modern, nervous and obtuse brains, made neither statues nor paintings nor books. He maintained in no uncertain terms that he made…living men, immortals. That’s serious, you know, especially because it’s the truth".
From the letter to Emile Bernard. Arles, June 1888
Moscow, April, 2012
By Veniamin Slobodenko who tries to be an artist.