Undergrowth With Two Figures (1890) - Vincent Van Gogh
He dreams of the Doctor, in the months he has left (he knows it’s only months, knows it as the days go on, as the sunflowers outside his window wilt, and as the sun passes down beneath the horizon each night.) More and more often these dreams find their way on to canvases.
Vincent wakes in the middle of the night, with thoughts so potent he can only rid himself of them by making them tangible. So he creates them, with broad strokes and thick colors, plastering the canvas with his fears and his love for friends gone by.
One warm night, with sweat on his brow and blue paint stuck underneath his fingernails, he dreams of a man. This is a man he knows, but doesn’t know. Pinstriped, laughing eyes, and holding the hand of a golden-haired beauty, this man has eyes older than his own. Vincent recognizes the suffering and age of a man he’s met before, and in an instant knows this man to be the Doctor.
The blue box was magnificent, and he’s seen wonders of the universe far beyond this. So he paints the figures with love and with reverence. They are a legend long past in history, but also a story that has not yet been woven. Vincent doesn’t recognize the woman beside the Doctor, but knows she is happiness and love and Vincent would like to paint her with flowers in her hands. Roses, maybe? He shakes the idea off for the morning, and returns his tired, bloodshot eyes to the canvas.
In broad strokes, Vincent paints the Doctor’s unknown happiness, the life he gave to a golden girl, a universe away. As he paints, he weeps, and doesn’t know why.
Miles away and decades later, the Doctor’s lips tremble as he sees a painting, hanging unpretentiously on a white wall. It’s surreptitiously placed around a corner, and he must have already walked by it four times without truly seeing it. His eyes water, but he dares not cry, for once he starts, there will be no stopping. The Doctor stares at the painting for several minutes, memorizing the strokes, the feeling, the impression.
Any other viewer would call the figures melancholy, and tell how they invoke “the feeling of loneliness.” But the Doctor knows better than any other, this is not loneliness. That is the Doctor, with Rose Tyler. He hopes that a universe away, his counterpart never feels as lonely as he does in this instant.