The name Vincent van Gogh is so familiar that, to most of us, it invokes a series of clichéd connotations: sunflowers, starry night, the notorious ear episode. Van Gogh’s life and death is an archetypal story of the sad, mad, impoverished but brilliant artist writ large. Fame, Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges affirmed, is "the worst form of incomprehension". So famous is Van Gogh that we project onto him and his work our assumptions, our prejudices, our vague recollections of art history snippets picked up at school. Precisely because we think he is well known to us, we don’t try to understand him better. This means we cease to care; we lose the capacity to be moved by his suffering or inspired by his genius.The great achievement of Loving Vincent (which opens in local cinemas on Friday) is that it gives us an opportunity to feel, as if for the first time, the tragedy and triumph of this incomparable human. If fame leads to misunderstanding, so too do its supposed opposites: ano...

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