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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Steven Carter

Van Gogh’s The Starry Night

The poetry of night—

Vincent knew it well, while most of us think automatically of the suns and sunflowers of Arles—a twining and twinning of lovers’ gazes.

A few years ago, the world’s oldest woman passed away in Paris, age 112. She remembered Vincent quite well. A twelve-year-old girl working in her father’s paint store in Arles, she recalled a “dirty, foul-smelling, unpleasant” man—Vincent—coming in to buy paints.

In The Starry Night, a touch of velvet softens the darkness between the café and those wonderful preposterous stars. This caress comes to us courtesy of the artist’s tender doppelganger—the one falling in love with recalcitrant cousin Kay.

Whereupon Vincent became St. Vincent: martyred to his muse and to Eros.

Doppelganger? I should’ve said altar ego.

a vagabond
stars gazing