Valiant introduced the class VNP with respect to "arithmetic circuits" over 35 years ago in a "rough" analogy to NP. Recently, there have been major advances in the area of arithmetic circuits eg as cited by Fortnow.
What is the intuition that VNP and NP are similar/ analogous in some way? Is there analysis/ results since its introduction that point toward or away from this analogy? Has/ can the study of VNP lead to some insights on NP?