Most helpful critical review
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Interesting and revealing
on January 14, 2001
Vincent Van Gogh was a great painter, but not a writer. So these letters are of interest in terms of history and painting. The life of Van Gogh is better exposed here than it would have been in a "real" autobiography, because Theo, his younger brother, was the only real friend Vincent ever had. He was his supporter, admirer and listener, and in fact Vincent had an emotional dependence on his brother. People interested in the process of artistic creation and creativity will find this book of enormous value and interest, since Van Gogh speaks a lot about that process in himself, one of the greatest painters of all time. But it is true, as one reviewer said, that these letters include, each and every one, eternal whining and begging from Vincent to his brother. He was, of course, always out of money and, as a genius really disconnected from the common world, unable to make a living by conventional activities. So he depended almost entirely on Theo. I would like to insist in that, although by no means a literary accomplishment, these letters are worth reading, since they expose naked the soul of a great artist and an extremely sensitive man, certainly a tortured and twisted soul.