For ages, men have used different artistic approaches to express the nature. The fascination of humanity to nature can be found in songs, drawings, paintings, carvings, poems, among others. Technology has taken this attraction a step higher and now pictures, images, recordings, and documentaries, capture the beauty of nature. All these forms differ in material and principle but have a common feature that unites them. That is ‘to capture the essence of nature as envisaged by man’. As such, different people use different forms of expression to bring out their view of nature. For instance, Van Gogh’s work on landscape depicts the way nature can be captured through paintings while Robert Frost uses poetry to capture the same theme. This paper discusses the connection of Van Gogh’s paintings and Robert Frost poetry in relation to the correlation between art and nature.
There has always been a connection between the activities of man and nature, whether it is through conscience or just as a matter of perfect coincidence. Vincent Van Gogh’s depiction of nature in his master painting Starry Night is among the best illustration of how humanity captures the essence of nature through art (Erickson, 1998). The work continues to gain popularity among millions of people because of its expression of the sky, the stars, and the landscape as seen from the horizon. It is arguably among the best paintings listed along with Mona Lisa. On the other hand, Robert Frost captures the essence of nature through his poem The Road Not Taken in an unparalleled way. This paper discusses the connection between the works of these two artists as related to man’s depiction of nature through art.
Van Gogh and Robert Frost
Van Gogh and Robert Frost are among the first artists who used their artistic expressions to communicate to people concerning their view of nature. The two artists continue to capture the attention of the world with their works. Whereas Van Gogh uses painting to communicate with viewers, Robert Frost uses poetry as a tool of communication. Gogh’s work has gained popularity in recent days as his iconic painting, Starry Night continue to appear on many of the common merchandise that people buy from shops. Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken continues to be popular among university graduates through the bending of the title of the poem to The Road Less Travelled. Robert Frost’s poem is a suggestion to the mental caption of a nature that is elusive to visual depiction. In this case, Frost’s poem imply that nature can be comprehended from a mental point of view even though in this state the mystery of nature is still explicit as the traveler is again presented with two similar roads to choice from (Fagan, 2009). Ultimately, he has to make a choice even that will further attract consequences like having to explain the reason for choosing that road and not the other. The two artists in their unique ways contribute to the building of human understanding of nature and other disciplines as depicted in their works.
Van Gogh: The Visual Artist
Starry Night is a painting that captures the nature through presenting the painting of the sky and the landscape. It presents the sky as having clouds, eleven stars, and the moon to reinforce the fact that the painting depicts the night. These three features occupy the minds of the people naturally when to mention the night. As such, Van Gogh brings attention to the common night features that people do not really appreciate in their lives. The astrology has used the stars over ages to interpret the happenings in the life of people. They use to be believed to have particular meanings in accordance to their constellations and, therefore, are powerful tools to interpret or even predict the course of events in the life of people. The clouds are a sign of rain that is important in keeping the land green. Similarly, the moon helps people to observe periods and incidences that define the course of man (Erickson, 1998).
The visible landscape in the painting resonates well with common land appearances that most people who have lived in the countryside can identify with. There are buildings that magnificently appear from the horizon to reveal how nature brings pleasure to the eye of the viewer through visualization. The ambiguous black feature near vicinity can probably imply the nearness of nature to humanity yet his lack of understanding of the same nature. That may be near to humanity yet complex for them to understand. Interestingly, the buildings that appear from the land’s horizon can be interpreted as such but that, which is near cannot be discerned. It is the way of nature, that it is so near that humanity is engulfing it yet so far away that the same humanity cannot understand it. Moreover, the painting captures the visual of the viewer in a unique way through the curving lines both in the sky and in the land.
Similarly, Van Gogh’s painting suggests that nature can be captured through the features that are visible to people like the sky, the star, clouds, and the moon whose nature is innate. His painting also captures the same nature through manmade feature like buildings and other structures. The church, in the painting thus reveals the divinity of nature as expressed in these manmade features. In contrast, Robert Frost’s poem is a suggestion to the mental caption of a nature that is elusive to visual depiction. In this case, Frost’s poem imply that nature can be comprehended from a mental point of view even though in, this state, the mystery of nature is still explicit as the traveler is again presented with two similar roads to choose from (Fagan, 2009). Ultimately, he has to make a choice even though it may further attract consequences like having to explain the reason for choosing that road and not the other.
Robert Frost: The Writer
Robert Frost presents in The Road Not Taken presents the natural dilemma that humanity has found itself into, since civilization, in trying to understand their origin. In a characteristic way, the narrator of the poem finds himself in a forest with two roads, which seems to be untraveled and worth travelling, “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same” (Fagan, 2009). The roads are both covered in yellow leaves and resemble paths in the wood to indicate the presence of life. This means that both roads are passable, and it is only upon the traveler to choose which road he wants to follow. However, he has to follow either of them because he cannot take the two at once. Nevertheless, he does take a road though but promises that he will have to explain this later amid “a sigh” which naturally means the regret for having not taken the other road.
Another feature in The Road Not Taken is the freedom that the narrator gives to the listener concerning the road to choose. Therefore, the poem does not provide an advice as to which road to take, “And both that morning equally lay/In leaves no step had trodden black” (Fagan, 2009). This seems to be like a nature’s call to humanity. Man is presented with a myriad of options to try to interpret nature. To this end, the poem suggests that there is no single way for human beings to capture the essence of nature. Occasionally, men are at the crossroad to choose what they think nature has allowed them to choose. Similarly, the use of identical folks also reinforces the nature’s provision of freewill to humanity. In this case, people are free to choose what they want to follow even though they do not necessarily know what they are choosing between.
Frost provides a blurred visual of nature by man in his poem The Road Not Taken. On the top, is that people really do not know what constitutes nature. As such, they are always in dilemma as to what to attach to the natures’ magnificent. In real life, naturally, nothing seems to be better than the other is. However, people always have doubts concerning their interpretation of nature. It is as though nature itself cannot be captured by people’s mind and will punish them for failing to make the right choice about it, “I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence” (Fagan, 2009). This is the kind of dilemma nature presents to people and they have no way of escaping this dilemma, but just to make a choice, although at the back of their minds, they know well that they will have to explain their choice.
Connection between Van Gogh and Robert Frost
Generally, there is a correlation between art and nature in the works of Van Gogh and Robert Frost. Starry Night is emphasizing the strange character of nature. That nature can be captured with the imagination of the human mind, yet remain huge and isolated like the huge black structure at the left hand corner of the painting. The painting also emphasizes how nature fills the daily lives of human beings through the depiction of the moon, the stars, and the clouds. The clouds have an unseen benefit that keeps the eye of the viewer roving back and forth. It implies the mystery that nature presents to people; that people can continue to gaze in awe at the beauty of nature without really understand the way it is formed (Erickson, 1998).
Van Gogh and Robert Frost capture the essence of nature in distinct ways. On the one hand, Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night shows that nature can be comprehended even though the same painting seems to suggest that, that which is near has remained a secret to human beings. The illumination around the stars is a suggestion of the intricacy that nature provides to people. That is, nature illuminates itself for people to interpret it. The moon is a sign of supremacy and guidance that nature inertly exhibits while the clouds represent the provision character of nature (Erickson, 1998). On the other hand, Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken suggests that it is difficult for people to perceive nature even though it is part of their daily lives. As such, they do not have an option but to make a choice regarding what they believe to be natural even though this choice has future consequences.
Furthermore, Van Gogh uses symbols in his painting to bring the essence of nature in a unique way. For instance, the representation of rolling hills in the horizon of the buildings is a magnificent creation of nature. Humanity has not yet created rolling hills and arguably, Van Gogh seems to be fascinated with this observation and, therefore, uses Starry Night to bring out this fact about nature. He also uses the curving lines on the clouds and the illuminated stars to show things commonly found in nature; thus underscoring the human perception of nature as being complicated and amazing. Van Gogh depicts nature’s stability and tranquility through the way he positions drawings with the church seen at the center. This may imply that nature is spiritual, and this spiritual deity controls all the things that surround it. Additionally, the cool colors used in Starry Night occur naturally to depict nature’s authority (Hier, 2007).
In conclusion, it is evident that nature can be depicted through the work of art to bring to attention the human understanding of nature. It is also evident that the depiction of nature through art largely depends on the creator of that artistic work. As indicated in Starry Night, nature illuminates itself through natural features such as the stars, the moon, and the clouds. In the same manner, human features like building can bring out an understanding about the principles of nature. The Road Not Taken depicts the dilemma that people find themselves in while trying to understand nature’s work. As such, they nevertheless have no option but to make a choice concerning their view of nature even if that choice will require an explanation.