It is not often that two news items crop up with an unusual connection but look online at today’s news stories, today as in November 5, 2014 and Vincent Van Gogh and Amanda Knox both figure heavily in the same areas, art and death, with a good measure of oddity thrown in. At first glance there is no tangible thread between the two very disparate individuals. Aside from the fact that centuries separate the two, the Dutch born painter died in 1890 and Knox, a twice convicted murderer of her British roommate in Italy, was not even born until 1987, it has emerged today, however, that there is a connection between the two.
Before pointing out this rather random commonality between an artist of world renown and an American 20 something young woman with her own worldwide infamy, a quick breakdown of each person is, perhaps, in order. Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Groot Zundert, Brabant The Netherlands and the painter died July 27, 1890. Vincent was plagued with a an almost obsessive morbidity and the man suffered from a sort of mental “turbulence” his entire life. Self mutilation and finally suicide marked this remarkable man’s short time on earth as well as an eight year prolific time period where Van Gogh produced around 2,000 works of art. He also, during the same time period, wrote some 800 letters, most of these to his brother Theo.
The Dutch Expressionist was a tortured genius whose problems and “eccentricities” are believed to have impacted and influenced the development of Expressionism. Amanda Knox, is not an artist. The 27 year old former student was charged with the sexual assault and murder of her English roommate, Meredith Kercher while studying, among other things, creative writing at the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy. The young woman spent four years in Italian prison during the trial. Vincent Van Gogh and his connection with Knox of death, art and oddity was not apparent at the time of Amanda’s trial, retrial and double conviction.
It is only recently that a thread has developed between the two people separated by time, occupation, passion, and lifestyle. In the news today, it was announced that a movie maker from China paid £38.7 million pounds sterling, or $61.8 million dollars for Van Gogh’s Still Life, Vase with Daisies, and Poppies. A piece of art completed by the painter scant months before his death in France. The painting was purchased by private bidder from Asia rumored to be a Chinese film producer.
On the same day that the Vincent Van Gogh painting exceeded its expected sale price at the Sotheby’s auction, it was announced that Amanda Knox had been taken on as an Arts reporter for the West Seattle Herald, hired by Associate Publisher Tim Robinson. The rumor that Knox was working for the publication began on Tuesday and was verified on Wednesday. Apparently her byline was noticed on an October 27, online review she wrote on a West Seattle High School staging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Here is the connection between an infamous convicted murderer, and a long time deceased artistic genius. A thread of death, art(s) and the oddity that both items were reported about on the same day. The final irony could be that as Arts Journalist for the West Seattle Herald, Amanda may well have written about the auction and the price that Vincent Van Gogh’s piece went for.
By Michael Smith