On deciding to become a genius at 27

This is not in reference to me… I am neither 27 nor have genius-level ambitions.

I visited (finally!) the Van Gogh Museum while in Amsterdam last week. I dislike most things touristy, and pretty much all things expensive, but this is well worth the 17‎€ entrance (but reserve a ticket online to skip the long lines).


It’s quite an interesting concept – that one can become an expert through dedicated study and 10,000 hours of practice, that so many greats were late bloomers. On the one hand it is a bit of a cop-out to oneself…. “greatest comes at all ages, my time must not be now yet so let’s wait and see.”

vangogh museum in amsterdam

This painting is a result of Van Gogh’s careful brushwork and color studies. On a very basic level… red and green are on opposite ends of the color wheel. This painting effectively leverages their contrast to emphasize the apples in the foreground and blues in the background. Each element also includes detailed brushstrokes of the opposite color, bringing the entire still life together cohesively.

But it is also encouraging, especially for someone with a busy-bee personality like me – that most of these things are indeed attainable through consistent and sufficient work. Van Gogh’s work and learning style echoes the martial arts philosophies of slowly, carefully mastering small movements and positions before being dazzled by the impressive totality of the art. The devil is in the subtle details and the mentality behind them.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s