Van Gogh and the Seasons

redbeanpork invited us to go and see the Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibit that’s currently at the National Gallery of Victoria. Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of art galleries, and only went for the company, and to try something new, so keep that in mind when reading this!

The first part of the exhibit was a short video on his life, which went through the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Then there was a section featuring some Japanese block prints that were a heavy influence on his work.

As redbeanpork mentioned, a lot of the pictures were just of everyday people doing everyday things – something that the exhibit showed in the artworks they displayed. They explained that Van Gogh was fascinated by peasant life, and did a series of paintings and drawings focused on things like farming.

A lot of the descriptions went over my head, but I thought that the paintings were amazingly detailed, and I never realised how difficult it would be to be able to paint something like that. It’s something that doesn’t seem too hard when you have things like Photoshop with erasers and undo buttons. To be able to put together layers of paint to create something so visually stunning is incredible.

My favourite painting was this one, Horse Chestnut tree in blossom. I like it because it’s just a heap of dots on a canvas, but you can see the tree, until you think about how it’s a heap of dots and that’s what you see. It’s just so interesting to me, the way that the mind does things like that, and it’s something that is explained by theories in modern psychology, but Van Gogh wouldn’t have known about that. He somehow understood the concept and took advantage of it.

I don’t know, maybe that’s a style of painting? A lot of those descriptions went over my head, so I don’t remember a lot of the theory behind the paintings. I was there in a caveman mindset: “That’s pretty. Me likey.” I still don’t know what you’re meant to do at art galleries, or what art appreciation involves, but I did enjoy my time there, and it was good to listen to redbeanpork’s commentary in the moments that we were both able to look at the same picture at the same time (it was pretty crowded).

I don’t think I’m going to become a painter anytime soon though, that’s one aspect that no amount of YouTube videos will be able to fix.

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