Mankind and Time XVIII

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou




If some still wonder about the notion of Mankind and its abstraction, contemplating on Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings is the only thing that can help them to perceive its nature. A reflection on this work can be more than enough to deeply penetrate the differences between Mankind and society. Vincent Van Gogh incapable of submitting himself to society’s consensual caprices has left us with a work marked by humaneness. Compromises are absent from his painting, because the only thing that he would contemplate upon was humans and nature. It is also for this reason that he painted poverty. For, as Victor Hugo has explained, humanity's grandest element lies with the miserable rather than with the bourgeois. Human nature settles for less, because it desires nothing but living. Whilst, social nature needs much to survive. Social demands are more important than human necessities. For, the essential is rare. It focuses on multitude of the unit; not on the unit of multitude. Vincent Van Gogh creates syntheses by using elements which characterize Mankind. He goes into the essential without hoarding redundant details. Thus, his elements show us what he attaches importance to and in this way he acquaints the spectator with Mankind. Thus, Vincent’s room or the old sad man or even the famous sunflowers are nothing but Mankind's tiles. By highlighting things that society deems them details, he reveals Mankind's traces. As if his painting gaze could not see nothing but this in the world. For, how many things that belong to reality are actually part of Mankind, after all? Of course, very little; but, what is essential is there and it is enough to give a reality to non-existent people. By beginning with the traces of them it is possible to reconstruct the elements of Humanity's structure. Vincent Van Gogh's paintings are the master's touch on Humanity's portrait. It is up on us to understand them as such and to not consider them as simple paintings which must decorate galleries drown into social nothingness. Through his work Vincent Van Gogh shows us the sense of expression, the necessity to create. He does not need to show his work to the world. He contents himself with displaying that he exists without having to prove nothing more than this. For, society can give its approval merely for the present. Thus, since it is all about creating for Mankind this cannot be sufficient. We need the past and the future to exist within Mankind. The present is nothing but a social illusion. Painting for the present cannot be a creation for Mankind. For, Humanity's recognition cannot be attained through society. Vincent Van Gogh’s whole work shows this effectively.







free counters


Opus