van gogh

Weekly Endorsement: Undergrowth With Two Figures

I have been listening to the Slate Culture Gabfest a lot lately. Well, a lot being every week, since that’s how often the podcast comes out. I wouldn’t say the Culture Gabfest is my favorite podcast, but it is the easiest to listen to. Each episode is like a smart person’s dinner party where no one talks about their children or their dogs. And like a dinner party, if you miss any conversation to the sound of washing dishes, it’s not a big deal. 

At the end of each episode, each host endorses something, usually cultural, occasionally esoteric, they have enjoyed in the past week. I think it’s a good practice to recognize one good experience weekly, and I’m going to start. 

My endorsement this week, along with the Slate Culture Gabfest, is “Undergrowth With Two Figures,” a 1890 Van Gogh painting that is now on display at the Denver Art Museum. I had never seen that painting before I went to a lecture on the exhibit. Even though purple on the bark of trees is rare, I know what Van Gogh means. Trees in twilight feel purple. I also like how the two figures sort of seem like trees, how they have the same verticality. Plus, and maybe most importantly, the walk those two figures are going on seems like something they’ll remember, like it’s the moment they fell in love or fell out of it.  

To see this painting, you have to live in Cincinnati, where it is normally shown, or visit the Becoming Van Gogh show at the Denver Art Museum. And for that, I endorse making reservations online and going early.