Giuseppe Cafiero – Author Interview
How did you first become interested in the life of Vincent van Gogh?
When for the first time I read the correspondence between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo. A splendid correspondence in which the affections of the two brothers are explicit and where Vincent seems to continually ask for help from Théo to overcome his anguishes and his obsessive phobias.
How does your book differ from other books about van Gogh?
No previous biography has focused so specifically on the women and places that Vincent Van Gogh frequented. Two essential and important factors to understand the life of Vincent Van Gogh.
What would you say is the most surprising thing you learned from your van Gogh research?
The tormented and obsessive life of this extraordinary man and the Vincent’s obsessive determination to become a painter. It’s impossible to understand the man Van Gogh without investigating the nature of his obsessions.
Which of van Gogh’s women is your personal favourite and why?
Definitely Sien! Sien with her excessive and seductive motherhood. Sien that makes Vincent enjoy the joy of transversal paternity and of a purely carnal love. Sien who manages to transfigure this bond into the profane symbol of a family. Sien who drags Vincent into a submission of the senses and a union with the female body sovereignty that Vincent will never find again or that he will scrupulously avoid.
If you could ask Vincent van Gogh one question, what would it be?
Why a long and painful progress towards suicide, announced as the desire for extinction, even if madness (undoubtedly desired and loved as a means to silence his distress) had proved a life partner but also a source of hope ?
What can readers expect from you next?
To explore the life of Vincent Van Gogh from a different perspective.
I wanted to investigate the life of Van Gogh from three specific points: women, places and obsessions. Three elements that have never been deepened specifically in other writings on Van Gogh. I believe these three elements are fundamental to the human existence of Vincent.