Sunflowers by Vincent van Gough (1889)

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Written by President ELLA

There were only 2 Vincent Van Gough paintings at the Philadelphia Museum, but I’m proud to have seen one of the Sunflowers. Painted in the end of the 1880’s this image was meant to be part of a 12 piece series to decorate an artists’ loft.


Vincent describes the flowers are powerful, but… I see them as on their way out. Not to say I don’t see strength in that; it is amazing how long sunflowers stand, but when they finally wilt, it’s quite dramatic and… kinda ugly. Heartbreaking, really. I’m not sure if the flowers are just blooming or just dying but there’s definitely a purposeful imperfection in this painting that I enjoy. Similar to how I enjoy knowing that Vincent had aimed to paint 12 but only managed to paint 6, 2 of which were replica’s. It gives me hope in knowing stories about great people and their “failures”. This story makes me think of how great small accomplishments are, when put into perspective. I imagine how log it took him to paint these pictures vs how long it took for them to wilt…

What do you think of the sunflowers? Are the dying or growing? Are they strong and vibrant and beautiful as “they” say they are? Is this are to you?

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