This last weekend on NPR, I listened to an interview of a Dutch musician and artist by the name of Van Eck. He was describing and promoting his album titled, "Van Gogh by Van Eck."
Personally, I have always felt that Van Gogh's painting "The Potato Eaters" was a sad comment on the daily lives of farm peasants in those days. The people in the painting are gathered around a single light, a plate of potatoes and what looks like a tea drink. The conversation between the subjects seems intense. The first time I saw this painting, I felt a sadness for what seemed like a harsh life.
Van Eck saw something quite different. In the interview, he stated that upon his examination of Van Gogh's life, he observed that Van Gogh had a difficult relationship with his father. Therefore, Van Eck felt that based on Van Gogh's family yearnings, the artist wanted to portray a poor family sharing a meal and the happenings of the day with the pleasure of being in the bosom of the family. That is the basis for an upbeat mood in Van Eck's musical piece titled, "One of the Family." (You can listen to a sampling by clicking here and scrolling down to song)
What do you feel when you look at " The Potato Eaters?" If you listened to the music sampling, did you find your opinion of the painting shift?