Although it doesn't quite match up to an in-person visit, the Van Gogh Museum's online site is a brilliant gateway to his stunning portfolio of work.
The Van Gogh Museum, which sits neatly amongst the wealth of art and cultural displays in the ‘Museum Square’ area of Amsterdam, is home to the largest collection of influential icon Vincent Van Gogh’s works of art. Housing over 200 drawings and even more paintings and letters, the Van Gogh Museum is arguably an art lovers’ dream. The museum, which rests easily in the top 30 most-visited art galleries in the world, houses not only works by Vincent Van Gogh but by his contemporaries and influences and allows visitors to gain an incredibly insightful perspective into the life and work of the man himself.
Having visited the gallery just two years ago and being blown away by the masterpieces that were on display at such close range, it is amazing to be able to use the Museum’s online ‘gallery’ to reminisce on some of Van Gogh’s brilliant and ever-so-famous paintings. These include; the simplistically effective oil-painted ‘Sunflowers’ (1887), the soft and beautiful ‘Almond Blossom’ (1888) design, and the quirky minimalist piece ‘The Bedroom’ (1888). The online collection allows you to explore a whole range of works that are currently being exhibited in the Museum which makes finding paintings you already know, or even exploring the site for works you are yet to have discovered, both simple and easy.
One of my personal favourite series from Van Gogh is his work on ‘Skulls’. The online site made it very simple for me to be able to search his ‘Skull’ collection and upon a search, I was returned with the juxtaposing vibrant oil-on-canvas painting ‘Skull’ (1887) as well as my ultimate favourite Van Gogh painting ”Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette’ (1885) which is one of his lesser-known but artistically stunning works. Although it isn’t quite the same as seeing these beautifully dark and haunting works in person, the online site allows easy viewing of Van Gogh’s wide portfolio of expressive work.
It’s not only Van Gogh’s stunning works of art that are accessible through the museum site. The Van Gogh Museum, being home to a mass of letters and messages from Van Gogh himself, encourages us as visitors to not only appreciate the beauty of his unique post-impressionist style but alongside this explore and learn about the disturbed and difficult life of the painter through a series entitled ‘Vincent’s Life, 1853-1890’. The site gives a simple timeline that depicts the progression of Van Gogh as more than a painter. It is incredibly interesting to uncover the truth behind Van Gogh’s work, as his paintings follow changes in both stylistic and tonal patterns as he moved through his rocky life.
We are often ill-informed about the life of Vincent Van Gogh. Considering he is one of the most influential and notable painters through all of history, it seems important that we know his life to allow us to truly appreciate his stunning work. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is the best place to do so, and with its easy to follow online gallery there isn’t a better time to find out a bit more about the man behind the oil paints.