The National Gallery of London has just received this unique gift: a portrait from Van Gogh's early period when he worked in Nuenen, a small village Holland. I have always loved these early things which are earnest, and full of the struggle and strife of poverty.
And, remember on this sometimes difficult season when emotions are piqued by memories: Cloudsandsea loves you all.
As much as I hate graffiti (and I really really do) I confess that this piece has something extremely original about it, even a kind of poetic unity. It is by Justin Bieber the pop star and I have no idea about his other scribblings but this is a striking image with lots of life. It rivals Keith Haring.
And perhaps not in the obvious place, such as a museum or collector's living room; it may be on the wall of a restaurant or a hotel lobby.
But wherever we see it, we know what it is. We may not know which one. But we know, even from across the room who did it. In contrast to the painting of earlier eras, this is one of the regulating aspects of the experience - and making - of art in this century. Each artist is responsible for creating his or her unique "vision" - a signature style, of which each work is an example. A style is equivalent to a pictorial language of maximum distinctiveness: what declares itself as that artist's language, and nobody else's. To re-use again and again the same gestures and forms is not deemed a failure of imagination in a painter (or choreographer) as it might be in a writer. Repetitiveness seems like intensity. Like purity. Like strength.