One of the highlights of the trip to France for both Bob and me was seeing the paintings by Vincent Van Gogh at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.  
There were certainly some great works by other artists at that museum, several floors of them, actually, including several of my favorites: Rodin, Monet, Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Matisse, Gauguin, Cezanne, etc.  But as soon as I walked into the Van Gogh room, I felt that Van Gogh was in an entirely different and superior category all his own.
His paintings were so alive and light!  It was as if they were glowing, sparkling, animated, imbued with living energy and spirit. In comparison, the other artists' work, to me anyway, appeared dead.  Oh, many of them were  beautiful, very beautiful, but they did not have the animation of Van Gogh's work.
When I got back home, I read a little more about Van Gogh.  What a tragic life he lived!  Tragic in that he must have realized his own genius, but his talent was never recognized or appreciated by others during his life time.   He couldn't sell his paintings, no one wanted them. He lived off of the charity of his brother, Theo.  He was unlucky in love (never married or had children) chronically sick, wretchedly depressed and at times delusional (his father had considered having him hospitalized in an asylum when he was a teenager.  And of course, nearly everyone knows the story about him cutting off his own ear.)
He shot himself at age 37.  At the time, he was living in a shabby hotel in Arles, in the South of France.  
Though he was depressed, how exuberant, joyful, and fantastic his paintings are!  It was a great privilege to glimpse, even for one short afternoon, the world through Vincent's eyes.  

Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait, Musee d'Orsay, Paris


Through Vincent's Eyes
I've been waiting for my future
I've been waiting all my life
But the future's running late now
And I'm running out of time
And the promise of tomorrow
Is a poor and empty purse
Lonely rooms in shabby hotels
And not many friends on earth
But the night sky hold enchantment
For the moon's a silver pearl
On a curtain of black velvet
Where the stars and planets whirl
I portray my dreams in color
In the rainbow's glowing hues
Pink and green and lemon yellow
Violet and cobalt blue
And I paint the rain washed houses
As they shimmer in the heat
Sparkling vineyards and sunflowers
And the fields of golden wheat
copyright 2013, Martha Maria