Professor intimately connected to recently identified Van Gogh painting

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Cliff Edwards, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, has a special interest in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum’s recent announcement of the authentication of the painting “Sunset at Montmajour,” a previously unknown painting by Van Gogh. Edwards recently completed a manuscript focused on the hillside and has hiked the location depicted in the newly identified landscape painting.  

“I believe that the evening scene as Van Gogh experienced it on that rocky hillside led to one of the deepest struggles of the artist’s life regarding the direction his art should take during his last two years,” said Edwards, who teaches in the School of World Studies, part of the College of Humanities and Sciences. “Should he paint ‘religious calendar’ art that might attract an audience, or should he continue to paint the world as he saw it, already infused with spiritual meaning.”

Edwards has been studying Van Gogh for 40 years.  He has written three books on van Gogh’s spiritual search: “Van Gogh and God,” “The Shoes of Van Gogh” and “Mystery of the Night Café.”

In the 1990s, Edwards identified a Van Gogh etching that hung in VCU’s President’s House. The etching, which was a gift to the university in the 1970s, has since been authenticated as a piece created by the Dutch post-impressionist painter.  


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