Originality

I visited the Kröller-Müller Museum, which has the second-largest collection of Van Gogh paintings. There was a very interesting expo showing Van Gogh’s work next to that of artists that inspired him.

Now I remember Van Gogh always being put forward as this great original genius, who was also dirt poor, crazy enough to cut off his ear, so drunk he couldn’t tell the color of sunflowers, and so depressed he committed suicide. Apparently it was commercial genius to turn the man into a myth when his brother’s widow sold his works. Perhaps it’s also a comforting narrative for mediocre schoolteachers that genius brings sorrow.

What I didn’t know yet was that if Vincent had been on deviantart, he would have been long banned as a pathetic art thief.

Not only did he copy “his” famous signature impasto technique from Adolphe Monticelli, but many of his paintings were blatant rip-offs of others’ work:

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