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Van Gogh Live

The tragic story of his life, his struggle with mental illness and constant research for artistic expression have turned Van Gogh in the poster child for the iconography of the tormented artist, with interest in his biography proceeding hand in hand with attention for his paintings.

The exposition Van Gogh Live is consistent with this approach. No actual paintings by the artist are on display: the exposition uses music and high-resolution projectors to narrate the life of the artist through music, details of his paintings and excerpts from Vincent’s letters, to his brother Theo or other correspondents.

While it is undoubtedly emotionally captivating, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exposition is how it sheds a light on the least known aspects of Van Gogh’s views on art, such as his fascination for Japanese culture, and his admiration not only for music but also poetry. Unlike many painters of the time, who disregarded the written word as too prosaic, Vincent in his letters shows his keen interest for all the arts, including the ability to verbally describe feelings and situations.

Similarly modern is Van Gogh’s consideration of his self-trained painting, the awareness that lack of formal training enabled his sense of discovery and contributed to the uniqueness of his expression. The modern and innovative design of the exhibition really succeeds in delivering the message of how original Van Gogh’s vision really was.
At the end of the show, you might not get the satisfied feeling you would get binge-watching paintings at the Musée d’Orsay — but not only the artist, but the man, Van Gogh will probably feel closer to your heart.

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