If you love the work of Vincent Van Gogh prepare to feast your eyes on almost 1,000 photos of his paintings and other work. The Van Gogh Museum has digitized all of its Van Gogh holdings, and it has the world’s largest collection.
You can filter your search by location, time period in which work was completed, type of work (painting, sketch, study etc.), and genre; as well as by title of work. When you click on an individual photo you’ll get the work itself, its particulars, and a short description. You can also download a pdf of it, buy a print of it, share it on social media, enlarge or shrink it.
I’ll use one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings as an example,”Wheatfields under Thunderclouds,” completed shortly before Van Gogh’s death in 1890.
Here’s the website’s short description of this painting:
In the last weeks of his life, Van Gogh completed a number of impressive paintings of the wheatfields around Auvers. This outspread field under a dark sky is one of them.
In these landscapes he tried to express ‘sadness, extreme loneliness’. But the overwhelming emotions that Van Gogh experienced in nature were also positive. He wrote to his brother Theo, ‘I’d almost believe that these canvases will tell you what I can’t say in words, what I consider healthy and fortifying about the countryside.’
The elongated format of Wheatfields under Thunderclouds is unusual. It emphasizes the grandeur of the landscape, as does the simple composition: two horizontal planes.
Through the website I can order a print in three different types of finish in five sizes, and share it through five social media. I don’t know if I like the painting enough to pay over 100 Euros for it, but it’s certainly easy to share.
I glanced through Van Gogh’s work by year, beginning with the museum’s earliest holdings. I assure you that worldwide artistic renown would never have been predicted for Van Gogh based on his work up to about 1885. Finally, I could begin to see his mature style in “Houses Seen from the Back,” painted in late 1885-early 1886.
For more background about Van Gogh and his artistic development the museum provides several what it calls stories on its website. These cover his friends, loves, artistic influences, and his mental state. I especially enjoyed the Inspiration from Japan story, which explains the elements of Japanese prints used by Van Gogh.