Someone recently asked me to compare two Van Gogh pieces - I’ll start a tag for this because I like the idea - here’s the first set:
Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette, 1886. Self-Portrait with Pipe, 1886.
These two pieces are from what I consider to be Van Gogh’s “first awakening” period. In 1885-1886 he finally released himself from the drab green-grey-brown Dutch palette, and started to branch-out more in to Impressionistic and even what we could consider (at least here) to be Gothic influence.
This period symbolizes his beginning steps toward becomingthe most masterful colorist of all-time, the father of expressionism, and a pioneer for bringing sacrifice, individuality and emotion in to his work.
Both of these are in fact Self-Portraits, although the first is more of an allusion or a joke of sorts - with this juxtaposition it’s easy to see that Vincent used himself as a model. The smoking in each piece likely serves a dual, and balanced purpose, first, it represents the creative fire within (life), and at the same time, it represents a certain understanding of, and resolve with death.
Tumblr really likes that soulmate’s first word tattoo thing but tumblr also really likes coffee shop AUs like imagine being one of thousands of people running around with “welcome to Starbucks may I take your order” tattooed from birth going into a Starbucks like “is it you????” “nah bro I’m waiting for someone to order a grande skinny latte extra cream”
It’s okay. I have too. We all do. Most often accidentally. But sometimes intentionally. I try my best to either leave them alone, or scoot them gently to the outdoors. Of course I know they’re going to come right back inside, but that’s the little wink-and-nod agreement we have with them, isn’t it?
Spiders look like little disagreeable things with more legs and eyes than a creature that small should be entitled to, but they’re really not. They’re quite social and curious and want nothing more than to go about their business of munching on hapless other bugs and crawling on you while you sleep. It’s not the warmth of your body they enjoy so much as the pheromones in your skin oils. They get to know you that way. They want to know you. Like I said, social creatures.
Having said that, let me offer you a word of caution. There are more spiders in your home than there are pixels in your television screen, yet you see them only rarely in comparison to their numbers, and they do you no harm. But do you treat them as harmless? Mostly not.
And the Denmother knows.
Oh yes, she does.
The mother of the spider den in your home oversees a teeming brood and will hardly notice the attrition brought about by the occasional squishing or crushing of her young. That’s part of the life cycle in any ecosystem, and she is not without understanding of that.
But those of you who actively and gleefully murder her offspring in large numbers? She has plans for you.
[ As an aside, I should mention that the typical Denmother is more substantial in girth than you would expect a spider to be. Think of eight long soda fountain straws stuck into a large grapefruit, and you would be in the ballpark. “Where would such a creature hide?” you ask, but the Denmother has lived in your home for far longer than you have. She knows the secret warm places. She knows your routines and habits and when to stay tucked in the darkness and when it is safe to come out and be in your presence. ]
No, she will not bite you or terrify you in any direct way that you can discern.
At first, she will just watch you while you sleep. Night after night.
In time, she will shoo her children off of you in the darkest hours and take careful, pensive steps up and down your form. Smelling your fears in your scent. Getting to know you. Like I said, social creatures.
Eventually, she will wait until you are in your deepest of sleep, and begin whispering in your ear in the ancient Cheliceratic tongue. She will confirm every fear, every hatred, every insecurity that has ever manifested itself inside of you until you are paralyzed.
Then, she will call her children.
They’ll cover you. They’ll taste you and feed on the sins in your oils while you suffer murderous dreams that will rattle and shake you during your waking hours for days to follow.
After this night, things will probably return to “normal” for you. Perhaps you’ll keep on slaughtering her progeny. Or–better for you–perhaps your subconscious will have received the message and you’ll be more cautious.
Either way, she will carry on watching you. And if you don’t behave, the punishment will continue.
The next time you remember having a fitful, traumatic sleep full of paralytic nightmares, ask yourself if you’ve killed a spider recently.