Van Gogh #1- Sunflowers

Most people are familiar with this sunflower painting, so ubiquitous are Van Gogh’s works. I imagined the father telling his daughter, “See, this is the original”, studying the painting to find the signature.

No matter how good the reproductions of this painting, none will prepare you for the extraordinary luminosity of the actual work.

I had one of those rare viewing moments that stay with you forever. Looking from a distance, I had an uninhibited view of the sunflowers. The painting glowed, commanding attention, although hung in another room on the wall where it could be viewed before entering.

The curator of this exhibition understood that, whilst comparatively small, this painting holds drama when viewed at a distance. Luckily we had booked for the first viewing session and got to the gallery early enough to be almost first in the queue, enabling me to have an unobstructed long view. It was an unanticipated magical moment.

Botticelli to Van Gogh Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia, 5th March – 14th June 2021

By Jude Tulloch

An outsider contemporary artist, I revel in exploring ideas through visual mediums and pushing the boundaries of my creative practice. In life, I strive for balance, by caring for the earth, practicing Tai Chi and learning about the world through travel.

5 comments

  1. I was lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. It is fascinating to see how his style evolved from dark Dutch interiors to the luminosity of his French paintings. It is easy to miss how skilled a draughtsman he was.

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    1. Wow Anne. How lucky are you. I’d love to visit that museum. I’ve only seen one of Van Gogh’s early works and I remember being really surprised. Some say he reached his zenith in the final years of his life but I am not familiar with the early works so can’t really make that call. What are your thoughts?

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  2. The pandemic and timed entries have had an unexpected benefit for normally overcrowded museums. Two years ago, a friend and I travelled to Florence and visited the Uffizi. Needless to say, I’m glad my friend is a New Yorker and elbowed her way in to get closer to some of the works. I followed in her wake. 🙂

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    1. Ah Italy. I too am grateful to an American tourist, though I don’t know if she was from New York. Everyone was patiently waiting for a local bus on the Amalfi Coast. When the bus stopped it was like Vesuvius erupting with all the Italians and my husband surging onto the bus. Fortunately the American lady saw me hesitating and stopped the crowd at the door of the bus saying in a loud voice “Let her in!” I reckon I would have missed the bus but for her.

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  3. There is something frenetically unique about Van Gogh. The vibrancy of his colour palette and the energy of his strokes give ‘still life’ a whole new concept! And I always have a near tear in my eye every time I hear the song Vincent!

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