This weekend we travelled to the National Gallery in Ottawa to see Van Gogh: Up Close. What a show! Seriously, I was in heaven and could have stayed there for hours and hours walking back and forth, absorbing, staring, drinking it all in. I almost felt happy tears coming. It was *that* good. The painting that really blew me away was Large Plane Trees - a show stopper. It glowed. I couldn't peel my eyes off it. Such glorious brushstrokes of colour. And he painted the most interesting juxtapositions of colour side-by-side. What a master.
Large Plane Trees, Vincent van Gogh, 1889
Afterward in the gift shop (because everything ends in the gift shop : ) I was disappointed to see that all the reproductions of that painting - in all its many forms - were somewhat lack-lustre. The above repro is very true to the original (but of course that depends on your moniter). If you ever have the opportunity to see this painting in person, go. I promise, it sings.
Sheaves of Wheat, Vincent van Gogh, 1890
My next favourite was Sheaves of Wheat and conversely, most reproductions of that piece have bright, saturated, pumped-up colour. This was the most true reproduction I could find and it was glorious in its softness.
Woman Walking in a Garden, Vincent van Gogh, 1887
I also included Woman Walking in a Garden, which caught me by surprise. When you look at it for a while you realize how beautifully the figure was handled - the skirt blending into the grasses (look at the right side!), the face really a few strokes of brilliant red, pink and mauve. The movement of brushstrokes in the field and forest behind, as well as the colour variations are stunning. The audio guide stated he painted roughly 900 paintings in his 10 years as an artist.
Almond Blossom, Vincent van Gogh, 1890
And although I could go on and on (and hey - if you've hung in this long I'm tempted) I will leave you with one last treasure: Almond Blossom, which was exquisite. Vincent painted this for his newborn nephew Vincent Willem (Theo's son).
The exhibit ends September 3rd so if you can find any way at all to get there your soul will thank you. And thank you Vincent for leaving such beautiful gifts for this world.