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Meet Vincent Van Gogh's Brother, Vincent Van Gogh

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You may know about Vincent Van Gogh’s younger brother, Theo. They were extremely close, exchanging countless letters over the years—not to mention that Theo helped financially support Vincent so he could dedicate his life to creating art. They’re even buried next to each other, having died less than a year apart in 1890 (Vincent) and 1891 (Theo).

WikimediaCommons // Public Domain

Despite all of this, the brother who may have had an even bigger influence on Van Gogh passed away a year before the artist was even born. Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born and died on March 30, 1852—a stillbirth. Exactly a year later to the day, Vincent Willem Van Gogh, future artist, was born. His grieving parents gave him the exact same name as his deceased brother. To make matters even more confusing, the church register assigned the surviving Vincent Van Gogh the same number as the deceased Vincent Van Gogh: 29.

At the time, it wasn’t uncommon for parents to name a surviving child after one that had died, but that doesn’t mean the practice wasn’t traumatic for child #2. It may have been particularly difficult in this situation, since the surviving Vincent Van Gogh was aware of and presumably visited a gravestone with his full name and date of birth on it, off by just one year.

To cloud matters even more, Theo and his wife had a baby boy on January 31, 1890. They, too, named him Vincent Willem Van Gogh. It was just six months later that Van Gogh the artist killed himself. Author Stephen Levick speculates that Van Gogh, who was supposed to feel honored, instead felt that his brother was replacing him the way their parents had replaced their first child. This, Levick theorizes, fueled a stage of depression that ultimately ended in suicide.

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Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
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Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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