Vincent Van Gogh and the power of synesthesia in art

in #psychology6 years ago

                                          Source imagen

Vincent Van Gogh explained in his letters that for him, sounds had colors and that certain colors, like yellow or blue, were like fireworks caressing his senses. Hence, his "Sunflowers" and his "Starry Night" are still now palpitating canvases endowed with life, movement. Obvious signs all of them that the famous post-impressionist genius was synesthetic.

This information may be new for many people. However, it has long been evident after the analysis of many of those writings that Van Gogh sent his brother Theo or even in the analysis of his paintings. The American Association of Synesthesia (ASA), for example, demonstrated the presence of "photisms" in their pictorial style, that is, a type of sensory responses experienced by those with chromathesia.

" The color represents the enthusiasm of life "
                       -Vincent van Gogh-

Chromathesia is an experience of the senses where the person associates sounds with colors. The sharpest tones, for example, provoke the perception of more intense colors, more vivid and shining. In turn, color can also induce auditory or musical sensations. It was what happened to Franz Liszt while composing and it was also what Van Gogh experienced, that genius halfway between the madness and the manic-depression that left this world without knowing what was happening to it or the transcendence in the art that would have your creations.

                                          Source imagen

Vincent Van Gogh and the world of colors

In 1881, Vincent Van Gogh wrote a letter about his brother from The Hague. In the letter he explained that each painter had his own palette of favorite colors, and that those favorite shades were a way in which he could go through the darkness of his heart to find light. In turn, he commented that some painters had the majestic quality of using their hands with the virtuosity of a violinist and that certain works became pure music.

A few years later, just in 1885, Van Gogh decided to study piano. However, that experience recently and ended in the worst way for him. Shortly after starting the classes, the artist declared that the experience of playing was overwhelming: each color evoked a color. His teacher, due to the statements, decided to throw him out of the center after declaring, simply, that he was "crazy".

This data can only provoke a small smile. Because of all the pathologies suffered by Vincent Van Gogh, that of experiencing chromatic sensations in the face of musical stimuli, there is no doubt that he is better than ever, once he has reached his art an exceptional expression and sensitive sensibility rarely seen the moment . His vigorous brushstrokes, for example, provided movement to every detail, where the yellow allowed him to experience the rumor of joy, the jingle of that hope that Van Gogh so lacked in life.

"When I feel a need for religion, I go out at night to paint the stars"
                                    -Vincent van Gogh-

                                           Source imagen

In turn, something that was often criticized by other business colleagues is that the use of their colors had nothing to do with reality. However, that was secondary to Van Gogh. It did not matter at all. The colors were for him the expression and the search for certain emotions and sensations.

As he explained one day to his brother, he felt unable to copy reality. His hands, his mind, his gaze never managed to agree with nature or with everything that others saw clearly. For Van Gogh the world throbbed differently, he had other perspectives, other forms that he had to shape in his own way. After all, synesthesia has that same faculty, that of allowing the person to experience life in an almost privileged but strange way at the same time.

Synesthesia and the art world

Synesthesia is not a disease, it is convenient to make it clear from the beginning. It is a neurological condition by which there is an unusual communication between the senses that allows us to see the sounds, taste the colors or hear the forms ... Here we have, for example, Elisabeth Sulser, the only woman in the world who presents a combination of all these characteristics : perceives colors when listening to music or any sound and also tastes them.

Neurologists say that when we come to the world we are all synesthetic, but as our neuronal structures mature all these senses are specialized to differentiate one from the other.

" However, 4% of the population maintains these synaesthetic capacities, moreover, the great majority of them, and this data is curious, they develop artistic capacities."

 Synesthesia, for example, is very common in musicians. Also in painters like Van Gogh and in writers like Vladimir Nabokov. In fact, the latter explained that a large part of his family also had this gift, but nevertheless he always had the feeling that he did not take advantage of that ability as much as he deserved. Especially because he did not quite understand it.

                                               Source imagen

This was what Vincent Van Gogh himself had to experience. The sensation that the world before his eyes, before his ears, was instantaneously chaotic and disconcerting, the sensation that this particularity was one more feature of his madness in the eyes of the world. However, to this day we already know that synesthesia has put a particular crystal in your eyes, that from which you can see reality in a way that continues to fascinate us.

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             All the images were taken from the public domain

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Wow... So there lived a woman who could perceive colours and taste them as well through music?
Wow... This is amazing.
Nice write-up. Quite lovely, captivating and informative, awesome artwork.
Thanks for sharing @joelgonz1982
Great Job ✌

Just noted your posts--read the "blue light" blog first. You have good information and write well. Your descriptions are not filled with jargon and yet you manage to convey technical facts. I love this Van Gogh piece. The mystery of the mind--we really don't know much at all, about creativity, mental illness. Mouse studies (poor mice) don't really do it. I'm following you--looking forward to more interesting posts.

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