2018年5月12日土曜日

Van Gogh's Ear :The True Story を読む

 Bernadette Murphy の本を読み終えた。驚嘆した。
 ゴッホがゴーギャンとの共同生活破綻の末、狂乱状態となり(英語ではbreakdownという言葉を使っているけれども、耳を削ぎ落とすような精神状態は狂乱という言葉が適していると思う)、削ぎ落とした左耳を、<娼婦レイチェル>に渡した、という事件。
 この事件が、実際は間違っていることを<ほぼ証明>したのが、この本である。
 こんな大仕事を、美術についての素人の女性が、やり遂げてしまっていることに驚嘆した。
 先ず、<レイチェル>は、娼婦ではない。耳を削ぎ落としたことにも宗教的解釈ができる。ゴッホを精神病院に収容して欲しいという「善意の・被害者の住民の嘆願書」などというものは、実は黄色い家の家主とその仲間たちの「陰謀」でしかなかった。大きなものとしてはその3つが挙げられるけれども、アルルやサンレミでのゴッホの行動を事細かに描写していて、興味は尽きない、驚きの連続である。
 正直、私はゴッホのデカダンな生活を軽蔑していた。「遊び人」のゴーギャンと一緒に「一発3フラン」(この表現はゴッホの手紙の中にある)の娼婦と寝て、挙句の果てに耳を切り落としてその娼婦の一人に渡すとは、なんていうクダラナイ男だろうか、と。
 こうした考えは、全く間違っていたことを教えてくれたのが、このマーフィーの本である。

 ゴッホの家系には精神を病んだ人が少なくない。マーフィーはゴッホの精神異常を性病(梅毒)とは結び付けては考えてはいない。そこは不明のままである。
 ゴッホの弟テオは、ゴッホの死後半年で、「脳梅毒」で死んでいる。19世紀後半のパリは「娼婦業界の全盛期」だった。普通に男たちは女を買い、それでいながら宗教的高潔さとか善良な紳士面をして街を歩いていた。その「偽善」を嘲笑ったのが、マネの「オランピア」だった。モネの妻カミーユは恐らく娼婦だっただろう。

https://restfultime.blogspot.jp/2015/06/blog-post_42.html

https://restfultime.blogspot.jp/2015/07/2.html



(P226~)
 A more likely explanation lay in Vincent's recorded obsession with  religion in the days leading up to 23 December. In Gauguin's account, as told to E'mile Bernard, Vincent was 'reading the Bible and giving sermons in all the wrong places and to the most vile people, my dear friend had come to believe himself a Christ, a God'. It may seem a strech, but I would suggest that in Van Gogh's heightened staet he gave the girl part of his own healthy body to replace her damaged flesh, and that the words he spoke that night recalled those of Christ at the Last Supper : "This is my body......do this in memory of me."
 Gabrielle was indeed at the House of Tolerance no.1 on the night of 23 December 1888, but she was not working as a prostitute. She was changing the sheets and washing the glasses. When Vincent appeared at the brothel that rainy night, I can only imagine the shock for the poor young woman -- a frenzied man comes to her place of work and hands her a sinister gift. It is no surprise she fainted. Van Gogh had a great capaxity for kindness, especially for anyone he considered less fortunate than himself, he would have been touched by the meek girl he saw working so hard, with such meagre reward. He would have been moved by her damaged arm. She was exactly the sort of woman he was attracted to -- a wounded angel he thought he could save.
(snip)
 Van Gogh's act of self-harm has always been the ultimate justification of his madness. Taking his ear to a prostitute has fuelled the legend of a wayward, bohemian painter who hung around with shady individuals and was irredeemably crazy. I can't pass judgement on him mutilating his ear. Of course it cannot be interpreted as the behaviour of a sane individual, indeed, his 'gift' was certainly perceived by the girl and the police as the act of a madman and reported as such by the press at the time. but giving his ear to 'Rachel' was part of a continuum of behabiour that had been gathering momentum throughout his adult life. Van Gogh rarely did things by half-measures. Set in the context of his past -- thrusting his hand over the flame in Holland, giving away all his clothes to the poor in Belgium -- his extreme behaviour in Arles liiks less like a single crasy episode than an act of desperation by someone profoundly unwell. He was impetuous, intense, yet at the same time oversensitive and deeply emphatic. Living mostly on his own, these traits remained unchecked. Clearly driven by his mental illness, nontheless the motivation behind  his actions was kindly intended and, within the parameters of his unbalanced mind, quite lucid.
(snip)
The discovery of the true identity of 'Rachel' surely alters how Van Gogh is perceived. Vincent didn't go to the /Maison de Tole'rance/ on a whim that night and he does not appear to have been motivated simply by lust. This girl was someone he knew, someone he appeared to sympathise with. I believe that giving her the gift --part of his own flesh -- was done out of genuine concern and tenderness for the young woman. The act was guided and influenced by his diminished mental state, of course, but no less noble for that.
 around 11.20 p.m. on 23 December 1888, Van Gogh set off from the Yellow House on an altruistic mission -- to bring succor to a young woman in need ; to help in his own particular deluded way, a wounded angel.






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