Synopses & Reviews
A splendid new biography--vivid, intimate, scrupulously accurate yet reads like a novel. As we read Callow we feel closer to that tormented genius.--Olivier Bernier, Newsday. A Book-of-the-Month Club Alternative Selection.
Published on the hundredth anniversary of Van Gogh s death, this is the first full-length biography of this undying man in twenty years and surely the most comprehensive account to date. Mr. Callow treats more searchingly than any previous work the development of Van Gogh s genius and his emergence as an artist after early struggles to find a vocation, first in the world of art dealing and later as an evangelical missionary among Belgian miners. Using the skills and psychological insights of an accomplished novelist, and drawing upon new Van Gogh materials which have surfaced in the last two decades, Mr. Callow sets a turbulent life story firmly in historical context, including Vincent s desperate attempts to accept his repressive religious upbringing, and his unhappy experiences in love. The story is filled with paradoxes and crushing failures, ending in suicide that was to lead to enormous posthumous success. Through Mr. Callow s book we can see Van Gogh s life and work in terms of tumult, of a legend breaking out of the triumph and confusion of 19th-century culture while representing it uniquely. It is perhaps the story of a saint, certainly a hero of art.