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At Eternity's Gate: The Spiritual Vision of Vincent Van Goh [Paperback]

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Item description for At Eternity's Gate: The Spiritual Vision of Vincent Van Goh by Kathleen Powers Erickson...

Most scholars have argued that van Gogh was insane and that his religious life was a product of this madness - and was something he happily abandoned when he left the Christian ministry to pursue a career as an artist. This biography by Kathleen Powers Erickson is the first to demonstrate the falsehood of such assumptions and to argue that van Gogh's spiritual life was essential to the unfolding of his unique artistic vision. Basing her study on solid biographical evidence, van Gogh's personal correspondence, and informed insight into the painter's artistic imagery, Erickson clearly traces van Gogh's pilgrimage of faith, from his early religious training, through his evangelical missionary period, to his struggle with religion and modern thought, and finally to the synthesis of traditional Christian beliefs with the modern world-view that he achieved in both his life and his art. Unique to this study is Erickson's in-depth examination of van Gogh's mental illness, culminating in her convincing argument that van Gogh's "insanity," long assumed - indeed mythologically contrived - to be schizophrenia, was in fact a psychological disorder resulting from a form of epilepsy. Erickson shows that this famous facet of van Gogh's life, too, was not without a spiritual dimension. In addition, the volume includes five black-and-white pictures of van Gogh and members of his family and a collection of nineteen black-and-white illustrations that reproduce important pieces of van Gogh's artwork.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Pages   210
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.14" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1998
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802849784  
ISBN13  9780802849786  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kathleen Powers Erickson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Erickson has been trained in art history and holds a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the University of Chicago. She is a freelance writer and photographer.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Artists, Architects & Photographers
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about At Eternity's Gate?

At Eternity's Gate  Dec 3, 1999
I have always viewed Van Gogh's art with a feeling of sadness thinking he was a man driven insane and living a meager existence without much choice. I now enjoy his paintings so much more having read a new perspective about his life. I see his work as full of life and hope and believe he lived a life according to his convictions. He was a man who took his stand against a tide he didn't agree with. I am refreshed.
a rich understanding of suffering, faith, and creativity  Oct 2, 1999
Erickson does van Gogh a considerable service by returning to the voluminous letters he wrote, in order to help the reader see the roots and meaning of his devotion. She views van Gogh as essentially a mystic inspired by the Gospels and by the writings of John Bunyan and Thomas a Kempis. Their words and images were internalized and remained with the artist in spite of his break with organized Christianity. . . . Erickson provides yet another corrective by carefully reconstructing the etiology of van Gogh's mental disturbances that resulted in an extended hospitalization after the celebrated event in which he severed a part of his own ear and presented it to a local prostitute. By returning to van Gogh's letters and utilizing a finely tuned clinical understanding, Erickson plausibly concludes that the artist suffered from epileptiform illness with attendant depression. She thus provides an alternative view to the varied and sometimes poorly researched conclusions that have led previous scholars and clinicians to arrive at a wide variety of diagnostic hypotheses. . . . Erickson offers a portrait of van Gogh as a visionary struggling to find the means to express his felt spiritual experience. In so doing, she provides us with an enlarged and richly nuanced understanding of the interdependence of suffering, faith, and the act of creation.
We can now see van Gogh's art as he intended  Oct 2, 1999
The conventional view of Vincent van Gogh is that he was a great painter who lost his faith and, finally, lost his sanity as well. . . . But now, thanks to Kathleen Powers Erickson, such interpretations are no longer tenable. Erickson has performed an invaluable service to the disciplines of art history and spiritual Vincent van Gogh corrects numerous misconceptions about this complex man and clarifies the nature of his artistic calling. . . . By illuminating van Gogh's life, Erickson has allowed it, in turn, to illuminate his canvases. Paintings which were formerly "works of art" now seem more like icons; Erickson has enabled us to see beyond their painterly surfaces and glimpse the spiritual forces that inspired them. The paintings become, in a sense, windows that are transparent to the divine reality behind them. More than just a series of magnificent paintings, the works of Vincent van Gogh, after Erickson, now appear as the artist had intended - a visual record of the human soul trying to understand its Creator, while struggling with its afflictions along the earthly road of trials, and making its way, at last, through eternity's gate and into the Celestial City. It is a magnificent trip, and Erickson is a worthy guide along its path
Magnificent  Jul 9, 1999
This book was magnificent!I thought the first chapter was hard to go through but after that, Erickson repayed her debt.I've never read such an outstanding book.The reason why I liked this book is because I liked how she talked about every detail.This book should get an award!
Great book!!!!!  Jul 1, 1999
It is very hard to do biographies at all. Many other authors who write about Vincent Van Gogh are usually vauge, and you can't follow through. This book is the exact opposite.

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