The last book I started reading that I did not want to put down was Tarnas’ “The Passion of the Western Mind”. Now, ten years later, comes “Van Gogh’s Untold Journey”, and I did not want to put it down, and I didn’t. What an enormously compassionate and intellectual treat! And what a brilliant interfacing of Vincent’s art and life and the Gospel.”
Clayton Garrison, Ph.D.
Dean Emeritus, University of California
“A few minutes ago, I opened the package that contains your brilliant book. I say “brilliant” for multiple reasons. First, your angle of vision on Van Gogh is so important. Second, your discussion of his work, its background and religious inspiration, is so perceptive. Third, the reproductions of the art are so stunning, as you promised they would be. I am sure this book will enjoy a warm reception, which will be richly deserved.”
John K. Roth, PhD.
Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy, Director, The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights.
William Havlicek has provided a clear and cogent case for the message of redemption in the work of Vincent van Gogh-—it’s a wonderful integration of the gospel message and the medium of art. Readers will find it inspiring and beautiful and Dr. Havlicek’s background in both philosophy and aesthetics comes through in this delightful book.
Scott B. Rae, Ph.D.
Professor of Christian Ethics, Chair of the Department of Philosophy of Religion/Ethics, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, California.
The clarity of William Havlicek’s prose breaks through much of the myth and romance that have accumulated around the figure of Vincent van Gogh over the last century and cuts straight to the heart of the artist. What remains is a familial drama and a struggle with faith that were integral to the man and his work. “Van Gogh’s Untold Journey” is filled with fresh insights. Mr. Havlicek’s interpretation of the painter’s most famed work “Starry Night” is particularly stunning.
George F. Bedell
Chief Artistic Advisor, Shumei Arts Council of America
Bill Havlicek has undertaken a thorough reading of the numerous letters written by and to Vincent Van Gogh. He has also examined in detail the artist’s personal life and the historical period in which he worked, drawing on the writings of historians, philosophers, art historians, literary critics and scholars of religion. The result is a complex picture of the artist and his religious and artistic ambitions. Havlicek’s analyses of a number of Van Gogh’s works, in particular “Starry Night” and “Portrait of a Peasant” are provocative. He has made fascinating connections between the paintings of Van Gogh and the writings of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, bringing them together in his discussion of the impact of the social gospel on Van Gogh’s thinking and artistic practice. He has also drawn intriguing conclusions about the significance of the media used by Van Gogh in creating several of his works–e.g. scenes of domestic life made using, among other things, bread, milk, eggs and olive oil. Havlicek writes with both clarity and passion. As a practicing artist he brings to his study a nuanced understanding of the mechanics of painting. He also argues that Van Gogh is a model for artists today who are seeking ways to meet their own social obligations through their art.
Frances K. Pohl, Ph.D.
Pomona College, Claremont, California
“Van Gogh’s Untold Journey” keeps Van Gogh up close and personal. This thoughtful and sensitive study of Van Gogh through the lens of his correspondence brings to life and makes visible the ideas and passion driving the artist. The Untold Journey is the captivating story of Van Gogh’s struggle to transform the profane into the sacred through acts of atonement in his life and his art.
Patricia Easton, PhD.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Claremont Graduate University.