I’m currently doing a short house sit in the suburbs of Melbourne on the way between Tasmania and Canberra.
I’m lucky to have crossed paths with the exhibition Van Gogh and the Seasons, the largest collection of Van Gogh artworks to ever travel to Australia, at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s a great opportunity to see some of Vincent Van Gogh’s works with my own eyes.
I love Van Gogh’s work for the usual reasons: the vibrant colour and the vibrating visual texture of the work of his last few years.
After a good look around at the exhibition I picked out a few favourite paintings.
This is one of them; The Garden of the Asylum at Saint Remy:
I just love the rich colouring – it’s almost like looking at an opal.
This is The Green Vineyard:
This is a close-up of some of the visual and physical texture:
This is A Wheatfield, with Cypresses:
Look at that amazing cloudscape and sky! It’s reminiscent of two other favourites of mine: Wheatfield with Crows and The Starry Night, neither of which are in this exhibition, unfortunately.
This is Wheatfield:
Wheatfield has marvellous patterns of flecks of complementary colours that vibrate in your eyes, and thick masses of textured paint surface.
This is Tree Trunks in the Grass:
Those tree trunks are nearly psychedelic in the way that Van Gogh has rendered the texture and colour of the bark – here’s a close-up:
Annoyingly, and unsurprisingly, I’m not the only person to be excited to get to see Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings – the exhibition was incredibly popular. This is the queue for tickets after I came out of the exhibition (the queue actually continues through and beyond a door in the far corner of this view):
When we arrived much earlier in the day this queueing system was completely full and about to burst out. (Pity I didn’t think to take a photo then.) To minimise the queuing we decided to go and have a coffee while we bought tickets online with our phones, and then joined the much-shorter and faster-moving pre-purchased ticket line.
At times it was difficult to get near to some of the most popular works due to the crowds of people jostling for a view.
Amazingly, Vincent Van Gogh is reputed to have only sold one painting before he killed himself. How amazed would he be to see how people adore his work now?
As you can tell by the existence of my photos, the exhibition allows photography. While it was great to be able get some photos to remember the exhibition by, this is a double-edged sword, as there were constantly photographic devices held up in front of the paintings.
I used my camera with its long-focus zoom lens, which meant that I could stand back a bit to take photos. But most people were using smart phones, which always have wide-angle lenses. This means that they need to hold the phone very close to the painting to fill their view, so you see a lot of this:
Still, it was a great exhibition, and a wonderful serendipitous opportunity to see these beautiful paintings!
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