Head of an Angel

Just a few months after completing his visionary Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh created Half Figure of an Angel (after Rembrandt) Religious subjects were rare in his career.  Theo van Gogh had recently sent a copy of an etching based on the Rembrandt’s portrayal of the Archangel Raphael to his brother Vincent, who was   being treated at the mental asylum of St. Remy in southern France. the artist was plagued by bouts of mental affliction.

Vincent was moved by Theo’s gift, as though adorning his interpretation of the gentle Raphael in heavenly blue colors. It captures the imagination and uplifts souls in despair. Yet, the painting is missing.  Did Vincent send it to Theo, as he usually did? He was known to have entrusted him with most of his canvases and drawings.

Perhaps one day we will know what happened to it, whether left behind after he was discharged from the hospital, lost  in his personal studio that was an adjoining cell there?  Or did he give it to a member of the staff for safekeeping. Is it in a private collection or a closet  somewhere, even a thrift store?

I really didn’t know the story of Vincent van Gogh very well until I started studying art again. I heard about him cutting off an ear, but even that story I don’t know about, did he send to a girl or just cut it with a razor or cut it during a confrontation with Paul Gauguin, and there’s the suicide. For years people believed he shot himself but recently other evidence has been uncovered. It is believed he died after being bullied by a teenaged boy in his neighborhood.

Sadly, Van Gogh’s mental worries were not his only troubles and he died too young, he became very successful as a tormented and creative genius but his story did not start that way, he was an art dealer and even a Protestant missionary. But later turned to alcohol and fell into depression, the enemy does go after creative people but greater is He who is in us.

Hopefully, a talented artist found mercy with the Creator. And now can paint in peace. He supposedly disagreed with suicide calling immoral, but stated not to accuse anyone, he shot himself. It does take the Lord to figure out the truth.



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