“One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature. Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little you will be able to love it only a little or not at all.”
~Leonardo da Vinci
We judge quickly. First impressions are too powerful and we settle the value of a thing or person in seconds with little information. If a thing is lovely to the eye, like Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom we smile and approve, but appreciation deepens with knowledge. Van Gogh painted this still life for his new-born nephew Vincent Willem. His brother Theo wrote, in the letter announcing the new arrival: ‘As we told you, we’ll name him after you, and I’m making the wish that he may be as determined and as courageous as you.’ Van Gogh meant the painting to hang over Theo and his wife Jo’s bed. The couple preferred, however, to display it over the piano in their living room. Unsurprisingly, it was the work that remained closest to the hearts of the Van Gogh family. Vincent Willem went on to found the Van Gogh Museum.
Now don’t you love it more?
God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Dig Deeper: Almond Blossoms
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, February 1890
Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)
oil on canvas, 73.3 cm x 92.4 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)