July 27, 2007

Song: Vincent (Don McLean)

On 29th July 1890, Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest painters of all times, shot himself after a long battle with mental illness. He was only 37, but in the years he dedicated to painting, he produced more than 2,000 works, including some of the most important (and expensive) pieces ever. The Museum Van Gogh in Amsterdam houses many of his paintings, but you can see his work in the most renowned art museums and galleries in the world.

In 1971, Don McLean wrote this beautiful song which captured Van Gogh's life and art beautifully. The slideshow is a collection of some of his paintings. After listening to the song, you can try a
reading activity based on his biography. There is also a vocabulary activity about art based on the lyrics.

If you were one of Van Gogh's painting, which one would you be? Do the test
and find out! Here's who I am...



Starry starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you but still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight on that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Starry starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget
Like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will


  • In your opinion, who are "they" (they would not listen, set them free, etc)?

See also:

Women in Art

6 comments:

Nina Lyulkun said...

Dear Monica,

How beautiful of you to put this video and the song to your wonderful blog.
While listening to the song, I felt the Vincent soul was floating around and bringing beauty of his masterpieces to my home.

Thanks a million again. You are collecting very nice and valuable things here.

Lots of love,
Nina from Ukraine

adriana kakehasi said...

I would never imagine that this song was about Van Gogh. Its was a good surprise Monica. It is impressive how his beautifull and sensitive work could be. I ask to my self if he was a sick man or had a differente vision of life and its values. In other words, he was a sick man or his was considered like that?

Mônica Veado said...

Hi Adriana,
people often say that there is a tenuous line separating madness and genious... It is indeed a very beautiful song, especially after we learn more about his life and work... It's like Nina said, we can feel his soul!

Anonymous said...

This song is really beautiful. I've heard several times before but never realized that it has such a wonderful lyrics. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful choice!!!!!! So moving!
Congratulations on your fantastic job with this song.

delvallesiosi said...

Fantastic song,
I think "they" can be the people around him.They didn't understand him,didn't buy his paintings.They even were afraid of him.You know people hid when he appeared...
On the other hand "they" could be his own ghosts,the ones that killed him...
A hug. Thanks for the video
Susana