We spent a wonderful morning in the van Gogh gallery in Amsterdam. Of course we knew all the paintings, we had seen them all in reproduction, and the building was more like a bank vault than a setting for art. But what art! At first sight how small and uniform the paintings were in reality: yet every blade of grass, every flower in a field, every olive tree, every vibration in the sky, every patch of colour, every brush stroke, testified to life and to a life vibrating beneath the surface form. In a true sense, an artist inspired, an artist breaking convention, artistic and social, but nevertheless an artist transforming life with a vision of the enhancement of life, a vision inviting each one of us to look again at the natural forms around us, to feel the spirit or the gods dwelling in them, a vision of enchantment and of humanity in a disenchanted world. Art—painting—can, then, be a source of spiritual nourishment as Kant and Schiller and Ruskin in their different ways thought it should be.
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