We’ve been home for nearly two months now amid the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown. Various museums, other recreational centres turned this into an opportunity of bringing themselves to people’s homes as people around the world have stayed home. One stellar example is the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam which has been offering virtual tours of the museum to fans of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, preserved painstakingly at this museum.
The Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh painted a plethora of landscapes comprising flowers (mostly roses, lilacs, irises, sunflowers), Cypress trees, flowering orchards and gardens. Some of Van Gogh’s work reflect his vast interests in the usage of colour, and Ukiyo-e – a phrase used to describe a school of Japanese art depicting subjects from everyday life, dominant in the 17th–19th centuries.
The artist created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, which include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits. His work is characterised by bold colours and expressive brush strokes, a style that has contributed to the foundations of modern art in a large way.
Van Gogh believed that colour’s effects went beyond the descriptive. “Colour expresses something in itself,” he said. Yellow meant the most to him, symbolising emotional truth. The artist is known to have used yellow as a symbol for sunlight, life, and God in his works.
In a recent announcement, the museum is asking for nominations – a friend, neighbour or colleague – who deserves to receive a perfect, 3D reproduction of one of Van Gogh’s nine most famous masterpieces.
“While awaiting the day that the museum can be reopened to the public, we are loaning out our masterpieces to fans and visitors. That is, almost real Van Goghs that are hard to distinguish from the original. You simply cannot get closer to Vincent’s work. And touching these artworks is no problem at all! Join in and make someone’s fortnight with a Van Gogh at home. Every two weeks we select five winners. For transportation reasons, winners must be living in the Netherlands,” reads the announcement on the official museum website.
“For Van Gogh Loans, we are using our Museum Editions: high-quality reproductions that are almost impossible to distinguish from the original works. The sizes, colours and even the relief of the paint are all reproduced as accurately as possible. Museum Editions also feature the most minute details that you don’t normally get to see at a museum, such as the stickers on the reverse of the painting stating where in the world it has been exhibited,” it further reads. The museum editions can be loaned for a period of two weeks.
The Van Gogh museum came up with this initiative inspired by one of Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother, Theo (dated July 1883): ‘It’s not about feeling hope for better times [ahead] – it’s about doing something right now.’
The museum hopes to open its doors alongside other Dutch museums and galleries June 1 onwards.