Van Gogh 22nd March 2010
Staggering was how one Friday nighter
described The Real Van Gogh at the Royal Academy and I can agree having
finally got to see this fantastic exhibition. If you have any doubts about
going then dispel them immediately and make the effort.
What did I find so
Well, to start with, the gloomy low light of the rooms and the hushed
murmur of voices sets a scene of worship or pilgrimage to the great man.
Like waiting in line to see Father Christmas as a child (worked for me
Secondly there is loads there. Even if you have been to see Van
Gogh in Holland (Amsterdam and Otterlow) there is still plenty that is new
and unfamiliar, like the vibrant Camille Roulin I illustrated in the
leaflet. There I talked about the tied in colour - green in the face,
yellow in the hat. Having seen the actual piece I realised that I totally
neglected to mention the neon red button tied in with the incandescent
outline. These are the kinds of things that seeing the real works give
you, rather than just an illustration.
The crux of the show is the
letters, frustratingly not translated, but mostly explained in the (I
didn't do the audio guide) labels. I just loved these pen illustrations.
True thumb nail sketches - sketches the size of a thumb nail - prompting
me towards a Summer term class topic. The range of marks and modulation of
surfaces in these letter sketches using lines, dashes and dots is an
education. I spent time copying Wheatfields to appreciate the level of
dedication and completeness of the sketch.
Finally you might have been put
off (like me) by the prospect of large crowds. I found the numbers
perfectly acceptable. It was definitely not how I remember the Monet of a
few years ago (only able to see a few feet of each canvas as you stood in
rows five deep).
All the online tickets are sold but at the time I went
(and others) in the afternoon the queue for day tickets was not so bad. So
get along before the close of 18th April.