We know so little about Vincent Van Gogh. Wednesday was the anniversary of his death in 1890. He'd shot himself two days earlier, but it's not even clear that he intended to kill himself. Was he self-destructive? There's been speculation recently that he didn't cut off his ear; Gauguin did. Vincent took the rap to keep Paul, whom he loved like a brother, out of jail.
Van Gogh was a gregarious, idealistic, and loving man who suffered deeply from the many who shunned him. When Theo and Johanna named their newborn Vincent, in February 1890, he immediately began this painting for the baby's room. The work was slow, interrupted by periods of incapacity. "I felt ill at the time I was doing the almond blossoms...Now the trees in blossom are almost over; really I have no luck." However, he must have felt great satisfaction when Johanna wrote him: "What he does do is look at Uncle Vincent's pictures with a good deal of interest--the tree in blossom especially, which is hanging over his bed, seems to enthrall him."
The baby had an excellent eye for uncles.
Almond Blossoms, 1890. Click on the picture for a closer look.