There is a particular episode of the revived Doctor Who series that I am especially fond of, and I believe it is the same for many of the sci-fi’s followers. While I had often heard about it, I never really got into watching the series, much less follow it nearly religiously, until I saw Vincent and the Doctor, which depicted Vincent Van Gogh’s works as inspired by a visit from the Doctor and Amy in the last year of the artist’s tumultuous life.
At the exhibition of the painter’s works at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris, the Doctor noted something in one of Van Gogh’s paintings that was not supposed to be there: a monster peeking out of a cathedral window. This prompted our time traveller to take the TARDIS back to 1899 Provence, where the artist spent most of his time filling his canvasses with visions of the world around him in a way that only he could see. Unfortunately, these visions also involved aliens that are invisible to everyone–including our visitors from the future–except him.
Suffice it to say that Van Gogh saw the world differently; that the evening sky was not just a space filled with stars set above the dark outlines of the French countryside. Instead, it was a stage whereupon everything came to life and the stars moved in a parade of lights. The artist captured the show above with his lively, and at times, angry strokes in his work, Starry Night.
Ever since I saw Van Gogh’s Starry Night, even without knowing about its history or its creator, I thought it was special–a radical work through which its maker depicted the world as living and breathing; it was sad, it was angry, but more importantly, it was alive. More than anything it is a reminder that each person has a of seeing the world around them and we should allow for these differences. Conformity is a sad idea.
As Vincent’s life ended tragically, the episode did not shy away from the fact that he took his life one year after the supposed visit from the Doctor and his companion, although not before learning that a century on (the Doctor and Amy took him on a TARDIS joyride into the future), the world would behold his works in awe and he would be called the greatest painter who ever lived. Tony Curran played Vincent particularly well.
This post is a response to Daily Post’s writing prompt of the day.