It was the first free day that I had, I knew exactly what I was going to do, and having to wake up early on a bank holiday didn’t bother me at all, better yet I was excited, for me this is what days of work are about. It’s 10.30am, it’s Good Friday and I am in the queue for the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition. I have been in line now for 1 hour and 40 minutes, I waited patiently, the queue had steady movement and then my anticipation was at its peak and I am finally at the cash desk. As I make my way up the staircase I immediately notice the amount of people who have also decided to attend this fabulous exhibition on Good Friday. Vincent van Gogh has a huge following and the Royal Academy of Arts has not just displayed his paintings but also his sketches’ and more importantly some of his rare letters to his younger sister Willemien and to his brother Theo. These letters are a detailed catalogue of noted events of what happened throughout Van Gogh’s life.
From the outset, his brother Theo was heavily featured throughout the exhibition. It was Theo, who financed his art career and as Theo was a successful art dealer, his support was became the back bone of Vincent’s vision. Van Gogh worked incredibly hard with learning techniques with teaching himself how to draw and as a viewer it was refreshing to have the element of surprise that we are not just attending an art exhibition, but we are taking a step into an artist’s personal world. The exhibition brought us you much closer to the master behind the brush, and allows us to not only fall in love with the great works of Vincent Van Gogh, but the great man himself. The extra quirks made this exhibition even more special- his quotations painted on the gallery wall, the seven stages of his career, the discovery of how the use of colour no longer had to have rules and all along corresponding this information with his brother Theo.
Within the letters, sketches and art we see mass insecurities, his love of landscapes, the growth of the use of colour, his admiration for Japanese prints, his devotion for London & Paris, the development of the self portrait and his fascination of the cycle of nature – yes this is a grand exhibition, the largest I have ever visited, in some aspect the grandness of this display is completely over whelming. Seven rooms full of his life, as an observer, you live with him, and when you reach the last room and the writings on the wall express that in Vincent’s last seventy days on this planet he manages to complete more than seventy canvases, many of them his most successful work, you can’t help but wonder that he knew in advance that he was going to take his life. On 29th July 1890 Vincent van Gogh committed suicide, but his legacy lives on with his work, when someone is as talented as he was, I believe they never truly die; right now he is the talk of the town.