Jul 18 2013


For dessert at the end of the day – another painting that’s not in a stove. Flowering Orchard, from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

I’ve been there once, years ago. That’s one museum that really impresses on you the difference between the real thing and pictures in books. The real paintings practically vibrate on the walls. It’s a wonderful, overwhelming experience.

File:Van Gogh - Blühender Obstgarten3.jpeg


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  1. 1

    Phew. you had me worried there. I wish we could put anything the thieves own in the oven and make them watch. Actually, I want to torture them more for what they did but it won’t bring the paintings back

  2. 2

    the difference between the real thing and pictures in books. The real paintings practically vibrate on the walls.

    Exactly my feelings on seeing Vincent’s Sunflowers for the first time. Wow!

  3. 3
    Lou Doench

    Ditto, when I visited the MOMA this spring my wife tapped me on the shoulder and pointed. I turned around to find Starry Night staring back at me and was transfixed. It’s the same with the ginormous Jackson Pollock paintings. You really need to be there.

  4. 4

    Starry Night is my favourite, an extraordinary thing. I don’t think I could bear it if that were destroyed.

  5. 5
    Cathy W

    Van Gogh is another one of those artists where no photo could possibly do the work justice. The texture, the thick layers of paint… it just doesn’t come across in two dimensions.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    I went to the Netherlands some years ago specifically to visit the Rijksmuseum, both the main one and the Van Gogh (and the Antiquities museum in Leiden.) I had seen reproductions of the Great Masters, of course, but to actually stand in front of an actual Van Gogh or Vermeer or Rembrandt or Matisse… breathtaking.

    I want the people who stole and burned those painting to be treated likewise. Alas, that will not bring the art back to life.

  7. 7

    One time I was rushing through the National Gallery of art to get to an exhibit and suddenly I had to stop. I had entered a room full of paintings by Rembrandt. It was a remarkable experience

  8. 8
    A Hermit

    Seeing a Rembrandt for the first time is a revelation. It seems as if the light from the painting is illuminating the room. Photos in a book or on the net just can’t show you that.

  9. 9
    A Hermit

    While we’re on the subject of art; in other sad news this week Alex Colville passed away.


    One of my favourites:


  10. 10
    Ophelia Benson

    Yup, about Van Gogh. Photographs can’t convey how thick they are, how three-dimensional, how the thick paint seems to give off light.

    And yup about Rembrandt and about the Rijksmuseum. One of my top fave painters and top fave museums.

    The CBC did a segment on Colville, which made me want to learn more…

  11. 11
    Gregory in Seattle

    @A Hermit #8 – I had never thought of it in that way, but yeah. The Dutch Masters had such an amazing technique for manipulating light. Gerard van Honthorst, in particular, although Jan Vermeer will always be my favorite.

  12. 12
    Gretchen Robinson

    years ago when I was a very young student nurse with a love of art, my then boyfriend and I went to the Van Gogh exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His paintings are up on the walls of my psyche. He had SO much life and vitality which he gave away so flagrantly and generosity.
    Most people don’t know he was an intinerant preacher, an evangelist wanting to serve the poor.
    How ironic that his paintings go for great galloping increments of millions.

  13. 13

    Last year, I was able to see a traveling Van Gogh exhibit here in the Denver area. All the photos in the world cannot do real justice to the reality of the work.

    Does anyone know the state of the debate on his suicide/murder? Quite honestly, murder makes a lot more sense.

  14. 14
    A Hermit

    The CBC did a segment on Colville, which made me want to learn more…

    You might find this interesting:

    She served tea to the church ladies below a painting of her in the nude

    Colville’s wife Rhoda was his muse and appears in many of his paintings. They were married for seventy years, until she passed away just after Christmas last year. I’m a sucker for a good love story…

  15. 15

    The post title alone caused me to have Don McLean’s Vincent running through my head.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Herm – yes, the CBC segment included the good love story, and I was a sucker for it too.

  17. 17
    Lithified Detritus

    I hadn’t seen this one before. Even on the computer screen it is stunning. It must be incredible in person.

    Reminds me that I need to revisit The Detroit Institute of Arts, which is under threat of having it’s collection sold off to pay Detroit’s debts. In addition to works by Van Gogh and other greats, it is home to the famous Rivera court fresco: http://www.dia.org/art/rivera-court.aspx

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    Ah that’s great.

  19. 19

    I visited the van Gogh Museum on each of several trips to (or through) Amsterdam. The transition from The Potato Eaters to Weatfield With Crows is stunning. You can spend a lot of time there; plan on it if you go.

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