Vincent van Gogh (18531890) was famously driven by his passion for God, for art and for books. Vincents life with books is explored here chapter by chapter, from his early adulthood, when he considered becoming a pastor, to his decision to be a painter, to the end of his life. He moved from Holland to Paris to Provence; at each moment, ideas and images he encountered in books defined and guided his thoughts, his life and his art.
Author Mariella Guzzoni has drawn extensively on Van Goghs letters, the most treasured correspondence in the world of art: Vincents letters to his brother refer to at least 200 authors. Vincent not only read fiction, he also knew many works of art from detailed descriptions and illustrations in monographs, biographies and museum guides. Always keeping up to date, he never missed the latest literary and artistic magazines. Books and readers whether dreaming or deeply absorbed are frequent subjects of his paintings.
This thought-provoking and original study takes the reader on an artistic- literary journey through the artists discoveries, his favourite authors, illustrators, and best-loved books including the Bible, Shakespeare, Zola, Dickens and Maupassant revealing a continuous dialogue between his own work, the artists and the authors who inspired him, and giving life to his comment: Books and reality and art are the same kind of thing for me.
Mariella Guzzoni is an independent scholar living in Bergamo. Over many years, she has collected editions of the books that Vincent van Gogh read and loved, and she curated the exhibition Van Goghs Passion for Books at the Sormani Library, Milan, in 2015.
I have a more or less irresistible passion for books --Vincent van Gogh