Author and art professor Dr. William J. Havlicek and Todd Pickett discuss Vincent van Gogh's faith, family, and artistic inspiration.
Dr. Havlicek's recent book Van Gogh’s Untold Journey is based largely on Vincent van Gogh’s astonishing letters of which over 900 exist. This important work—the result of over 15 years of research—provides new insight into the artist’s character, nurtured by his abiding faith, the influence of family, and the tender solicitude he felt for mankind.
William J. Havlicek’s book holds some compelling revelations, among them the role played by Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, his sister-in-law, without whom little of the inimitable Vincent would ever have been known; and the artist’s vicarious relationship with Charles Dickens. Perhaps most revealing is Havlicek’s discovery of how the inspired words of Victor Hugo, embodied in one of his characters in Les Misérables, gave van Gogh the idea for one of his most celebrated paintings of all: The Starry Night.
Dr. William Havlicek
The book also dispels much of the myth that has come to surround Vincent’s tumultuous life. In the words of the author, “The letters reveal an unknown, adventurous, deeply compassionate Vincent whose essence seems to have been lost in the dramatic and often apocryphal stories surrounding his illness and early death. My effort therefore was to unveil these unknown aspects of Vincent—ones that are even heroic and certainly praiseworthy.”
“Dr. Havlicek offers an intimate perspective on the life of Van Gogh through an examination of Vincent’s personal letters to his family. I enjoyed learning about Vincent’s faith, his struggles in relationships with others and with God, and how he translated life’s issues into his artwork. The book itself is gorgeous, full of large color plates that accompany the text. Holding this book in your hands feels like holding something of top quality. Open the book to any passage, and the sense of quality is reinforced through the content. Dr. Havlicek writes with passion, intelligence, and clarity, creating a book with provocative insights, interesting connections, and lessons about the preciousness of life. It will inspire you!” ~ Amazon Reviewer Tiburon SC
A native Californian, Todd Pickett has been an English professor for many years and is now Dean of Spiritual Development at Biola University. He has degrees in Classical languages and literature from Stanford University and from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from Biola University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California (Irvine). He leads retreats, undertakes group and individual spiritual direction, preaches regularly and speaks frequently to groups on Christian spiritual formation from an evangelical perspective. He lives in Costa Mesa, CA, and is married to Dottie Cox Pickett, a marriage and family therapist.