". . . great things do not just happen by impulse but are a succession of small things linked together."
Vincent van Gogh
22 October 1882
As I mention earlier, the internet and the World Wide Web are extremely well suited to exchanging all kinds of information. It opens itself up to newsgroups for people who wish to exchange opinions about Van Gogh, live on-line chat bulletin boards and, of course, websites. I can recommend:
Van Gogh Specific
- The Van Gogh Museum should be the first stop for any Van Gogh enthusiast. The Museum, which opened in 1973, is host to the world's largest collection of the works of Vincent van Gogh. People have come to expect the best from Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum and, as a result, it's no surprise that the Museum's official website should be such an excellent resource. The Van Gogh Museum's website presents details about its collection, its many services, the latest news as well as an interesting virtual tour--the next best thing to being there. Available in English and Dutch.
- An absolutely remarkable project, fifteen years in the making, the website Vincent van Gogh: The Letters is a revelation. Here you'll find all of the 902 existing letters to and from Vincent van Gogh. The site includes the complete text of each letter in its original language (Dutch, French or English) as well as an English translation and a facsimile copy of each letter. All letters have been newly translated and include exhaustive annotations. A marvelous resource for any art enthusiast. Edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker. The Van Gogh Museum letters project also produced the most complete volume of letters ever produced: Vincent van Gogh: The Letters, a spectacular six-volume set that includes 9,000 colour illustrations.
- In 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith published the hugely anticipated biography Van Gogh: The Life. This book, without question the best Van Gogh biography ever written, is a wealth of information. In fact, the book produced more than 6,000 pages worth of informative notes--far too many to include in the book itself. As a result Naifeh and Smith have created their Van Gogh Biography website. This site, meant to accompany the book, is also an extremely valuable resource on its own. Highly recommended.
- Van Gogh Brabant is a well designed and informative website which focuses on Van Gogh's early years in the northern Dutch province of Brabant. Here you'll find biographical information, details about Van Gogh locations in Brabant and following in Van Gogh's footsteps, a Van Gogh app for download . . . and much more.
- Dr. Wilfred Niels Arnold , a professor of biochemistry at the Kansas University Medical Center, has devoted a great deal of research into the complex origins of Vincent van Gogh's creativity as well as his mental state. Dr. Arnold's book Vincent van Gogh: Chemicals, Crises and Creativity explores these topics in depth. He's also put together an interesting and insightful slide show complete with his own narrative on Van Gogh's development as an artist as well as the ongoing challenges as a result of his mental health.
- One of the best designed websites on the internet, Van Gogh or otherwise, is Van Gogh at Etten - Sketches and Billboards. This site is outstanding for a variety of reasons. The site's layout and design is first rate and it's also extremely interesting and informative in that it focuses on a very specific, early period in Vincent van Gogh's life: his time in Etten. Furthermore, to me one of the most appealing things about this site is that it was designed by three young people as part of an international web design competition. Although this site looks like it was designed by a entire department of seasoned web developers; in fact, it was created by three young students: a boy from Singapore, a boy from the Netherlands and a girl from Nigeria. An excellent site and an example of how the internet is changing the world for the better.
- Van Gogh's illness has been the subject of debate for more than a century. Heike Stucke has written a master's thesis called "Vincent van Gogh From A Clinical Psycho-Art Therapy Viewpoint." More details can be found on her interesting website.
- Artist Arnold Smith has created an intriguing site called Van Gogh Lost and Found. In it he recreates Van Gogh works through a variety of means. Some works Smith has drawn based only on fragments of Van Gogh's paintings (Two Lovers, for example). He also paints works that Van Gogh mentions in letters--works that have been lost or that Van Gogh himself abandoned and scraped from the canvas. Arnold Smith's site presents us with a variety of "what ifs" and his works provide new insights into some of the the hidden shadows of Van Gogh's oeuvre.
- Another excellent site focusing on Van Gogh's time in the Netherlands is the Van Gogh and Drenthe site. The Van Gogh and Drenthe Foundation is responsible for the restoration of the former Scholte Inn in Nieuw Amsterdam and for furnishing the attached visitors centre. Its goal: "To give more publicity to the important role that Vincent van Gogh's stay in Nieuw Amsterdam played in the development of his career as an artist".
- Vincent van Gogh once wrote "I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate" (Letter 459a) and his adventures took him to many different locations throughout western Europe. A site of contemporary maps chronicling Van Gogh's travels yields some interesting insights. In additon, the owner of this website offers Van Gogh-related tours and lectures.
- The Protestant church in Zundert, The Netherlands is sometimes called the "Van Gogh Church." And with good reason. Vincent van Gogh (and his brothers and sisters) was baptized here and Zundert was Van Gogh's place of birth. This beautiful old church is well worth a visit--as is the adjacent graveyard which includes a marker for Vincent van Gogh--the stillborn child named Vincent who preceded the artist Van Gogh's birth by one year (see Photo section). This church now has an interesting and informative website: www.pk-zundert.nl (currently in Dutch only unfortunately).
- Peter Wilstermann is a filmmaker in Venezuela and is working on an animated Van Gogh project. His short film, The Yellow House, is currently in production. The innovative animation style along with a moving soundtrack make Wilstermann's project an intriguing one.
- There's a good overview of the theories surrounding Van Gogh's illness on Wikipedia.
Interpretations of Van Gogh's Works
- Another must-see site is Pete Clements' Showcase: Pete has done some incredible graphic work with Vincent's famous bedroom painting. Are you interested in seeing an aerial shot of the bedroom? Or maybe a peek at the never-before-seen fourth wall. Pete's site reveals all . . . . .
- Gianluca Masi is an astronomer at the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy. Gianluca and Antonella Basso have undertaken an analysis of three Van Gogh paintings from an astronomical perspective. Van Gogh's nineteenth century starry skies viewed from a twenty-first century scientific perspective.
Van Gogh-Related Apps and E-Books
iPads, smart phones . . . . the technology is ever evolving. Lots of interesting new apps are delivering Van Gogh's life and art in ways never before possible.
- Van Gogh's Dream is a turning point in the fields of editing and art. For the first time, and thanks to the revolutionary tools developed by Adobe (Adobe Digital Publishing Suite), an application devoted to the painter Vincent van Gogh is presenting unpublished content developed especially for the iPad. With this application you will have access to more than 150 documented pages, Van Gogh’s entire painted oeuvre from Auvers (80 works), and approximately 90 minutes of video and interactive tools.
- The 1-Hour van Gogh Book - Van Gogh Paintings Explained is a new e-book that gives an overview of Van Gogh's art works and life. A good introduction to the artist.
Learn more about a new app that's been developed based on Laurence Anholt’s popular children's book "Camille and the Sunflowers." This entertaining educational tool allows children to paint every page, play games and even explore a 3D museum whenever a painting in the app is touched. A well designed and informative app that's proving to be popular among children and adults alike.
- The Dutch province of Brabant, where Van Gogh was born and raised, has introduced Explore Vincent, an app devoted to the artist's early years. Animations, games and many historical facts tell the story about Van Gogh's life and works.
- My-Guides has introduced their Van Gogh Smartphone Tour App. This app includes two "tours": the first, a timeline of Van Gogh's life and the second, an overview of Van Gogh's art works. Free for use on the Android platform.
- For one of the very best arts site it's ever been my pleasure to visit, I would definitely recommend Mark Harden's Artchive. This great looking site offers a wealth of terrific information, graphics and links. You'll find yourself spending hours wandering through Mark's wonderful site.
- The Artcyclopedia is a very enjoyable site. Its mission: "To become the definitive and most effective guide to museum-quality fine art on the Internet". This site is definitely of interest to any art lover.
Schools and Educational Resources
I love the idea of young people learning to appreciate the life and works of Vincent van Gogh. I have fond memories of an afternoon in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and standing next to a man explaining the unique style of Vincent's Starry Night to his five year old daughter. Here are a few of the sites from schools that I've found which I encourage everyone to visit. Do you know of any more? Please drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
- Amazing WIZ Kids offers fun pages for kids to color showing some of Van Gogh’s best loved masterpieces. They have not included the original painting next to the coloring page because they want kids to color it their own way without feeling like they should simply make a copy of the original, but links to the originals are provided.
- Educational Web Adventures (EduWeb) is a valuable resource for teachers and students alike. Lots of interesting material is available including "Inside Art" which takes the visitor to an interactive lesson featuring one of Van Gogh's paintings.
Van Gogh aficionados span the four corners of the earth. I hope to add more interesting and well designed websites from around the world.
- Claudia Perilli lives in Rieti, near Rome (Italy). In 2003 she graduated at the Fine Arts Academy of L'Aquila with an interesting thesis on Van Gogh's drawings. You can read her thesis (in Italian) on her beautiful website: http://digilander.libero.it/adiam/ (click on: Lavori, then Scritti) where you can also find her black and white and colour photographs as well as other works.
- There are many wonderful Van Gogh art works in Russia. Just as there are many Van Gogh enthusiasts. One has developed a very thorough and well done website dedicated to Vincent's life and works.
- Lucius Furius offers a 190-page on-line book called Genius Ignored which includes an extremely enjoyable chapter on Van Gogh with many of Vincent's letters to Theo and other original documents. Take some time to explore this page and the many other interesting pages that comprise this site.
- Are you fascinated by the intrigues of stolen art? Then Saz Productions has lots of interesting and up-to-date information.
- Canadian artist Johnny Wales has created a remarkable video called "Vincent: A Few Moments with the Artist". Using stop motion photography Mr. Wales conjures up a remarkable look at Vincent van Gogh in his room in the Yellow House. Subtle, understated and with an extraordinary attention to detail, this superb video is a lovely look at the artist.
- Wendy Lewis produced an enjoyable video of Van Gogh's life. It features a nice selection of Van Gogh's art works and provides additional insights through a focus on his letters.
- Vincent van Gogh wrote "I begin to suspect that I know but a very small portion of Daumier’s work and that the very things which would interest me most are in the portion of his work which I do not know (though I already greatly appreciate what I know of him)." (Letter 239). Would you be interested in learning more about the famed lithographer Honoré Daumier, so admired by Van Gogh and many others? Then I highly recommend a visit to The Daumier Website (http://www.daumier.org). This website is an excellent resource for any Daumier enthusiast. The site, extremely educational and well designed, includes a comprehensive biography, a vast amount of information about Damier's works and details about the "Daumier Registry," an evolving database of Daumier's complete lithographic works.
- Johannes Vermeer is one of the most admired artists of all time. Despite the small number of paintings that he produced, Vermeer remains one of the world's best loved painters. The website The Essential Vermeer does the artist justice. This site includes a vast amount of information: biography, complete works, research, maps, discussions of technique and much, much more. And all with a first-rate user interface. The Essential Vermeer lives up to its name: the essential website for any Vermeer aficionado.
- This website dedicated to sculptor Auguste Rodin is excellent. Extremely well designed and comprehensive. Highly recommended.
- Ron Gang is an artist living in Kibbutz Urim in Israel. His works are an eclectic mix ranging from vast landscapes to colourful abstracts. Just as Vincent van Gogh was drawn to the cypress trees and olive groves of Provence, Ron Gang takes his easel and brushes out to the wind-swept acacia trees of Israel. Beautiful works.
- British Columbia artist Glenn Payan paints in bright, bold colours and his work is clearly influenced by Van Gogh. Payan's paintings are delightful--from his surreal landscapes to the rolling fields that look like Van Gogh's sun drenched Provence. Payan is inspired by Van Gogh, but his style is all his own.
- I was lucky enough to visit an exhibit of works by René Magrite a few years ago in Los Angeles. Very interesting works. This online museum of Magrite's works is excellent. Very well laid out and a first-rate design. The search feature is superb--I only wish I had something as useful as this for my own Gallery.
Tourism: The Netherlands
If you're planning a trip to visit The Netherlands, then I can certainly recommend the following four websites:
- Netherlands Board of Tourism: An excellent site with lots of information for tourists.
- Visitors to Amsterdam will find the website www.amsterdam.info to be a useful source of information. Includes hotel and shopping information, tips for the tourist and much more.
- Hollandsite: Designed for Dutch people living abroad, this site includes dozens of helpful links to all things Dutch.
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