The commercial begins with a woman in a gallery hanging a still life with flowers next to Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait of 1886 (above). Pollen wafts off of the flowers and irritates poor Vincent’s eyes until, out of nowhere, comes a bottle of Pataday! Vincent tips his head back and squeezes a few drops into his stunning blue eyes. Relief quickly brings a smile to his face. Soon nighttime falls and the background of the Self-Portrait transforms into the background of Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone (below).
You can see the “after” picture of a smiling Van Gogh at the Pataday website, along with the tagline: “Once-a-day relief for itchy eyes. That’s genius.” My memory may be playing tricks with me, but the smiling Vincent on the website is only half as disturbing as the animated smiling Vincent of the commercial, and that’s still pretty disturbing. I’m as big a fan of animated great works of art as anyone (especially on Little Einsteins), but this was just creepy.
Also, is anyone else a little amused/befuddled by the idea of one of the greatest open air painters of all time suffering from allergies? I don’t recall that in any of the letters to Theo:
Tried again today to paint in the wheat fields, but my allergies continue to thwart me. I am considering giving up painting outdoors altogether. I may have to go to Tahiti with Gauguin.
P.S.—Please send money.”