Had he ever lived to see fame and fortune through his art — let alone the iconic embrace of his works via college room dorm walls across the United States — Vincent Van Gogh would almost certainly shake his head in disbelief. His was a hard life, full of turbulence and disappointment. The warmth of embrace — either critically or commercially — would likely be discombobulating to him. All of which makes Van Gogh: Brush with Genius, a short-form documentary originally created for exhibition in IMAX theaters, an even more telling glimpse into his life and work.
Though it runs only a relatively scant 40 minutes, Van Gogh: Brush with Genius delivers a superlative, condensed
biography of the famed artist, providing viewers with a dazzling, visually sumptuous tour of his works, while also retracing his life through his letters and other writings, and showcasing some of the wondrous locations that inspired him. Given its IMAX roots, of course, there’s plenty of edu-tainment pop and a touch of gloss (I’m sure this played in heavy rotation for visiting school audiences), but the slurry beauty of Van Gogh’s feverish brushstrokes are highlighted in engaging fashion too. This is a short-form title that strikes the right balance between glorification and explication of its subject.
Housed in a regular Blu-ray case, Van Gogh: Brush with Genius comes to Blu-ray presented in 1080p high definition, in a beautiful 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, with DTS-HD master audio 5.1 tracks in English, French, Spanish and Japanese. The review copy with which I was serviced came, amusingly enough, with a miniature foam severed ear, but thankfully that’s not the only supplemental feature; a brief slide show and a HD-shot making-of documentary, running just under 20 minutes, are also included here, making for a total package that feels robust, but is still condensed. To purchase the Blu-ray via Amazon, click here. B+ (Movie) B- (Disc)