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Thursday, 3 October 2019

The van Gogh ear

The Vincent van Gogh Museum 
Close up, it doesn't look particularly attractive but, as part of a whole, it's very effective

And inside, it's stunning

The following day it was the Van Gogh museum where we spent six hours exploring the four floors of paintings. We weren’t completely mad. It also included a one-hour beer break in the café. One thing became obvious. If you decide to save money and not buy into the ‘audio’ tour make full use of the advantage. What we saw were painfully slow bottlenecks of ten to fifteen people blocking pictures and moving to the pace of the audio tour. Far better to make guerrilla attacks in the gaps: those pictures ahead or immediately behind the slow moving tortoise.
It was dizzying to see so much of his work in one place, at the end overwhelming. 

I never realised, for example, he’d done so many self-portraits, nor how little respect he had for his left ear, which may explain why he eventually dispensed with it. This for example. It looks like Mr Potato Head ear, a lurid perfunctory addition to otherwise subtle and beautifully painted face. Little wonder he decided to cut the real thing off; he couldn’t paint the damn thing.

The attendants were pleasant and most of the time unobtrusive, but they enforced one rule with particular vigour. No Photographs! As soon as the ubiquitous iPhone appeared, a fierce and sibilant whisper cut the air like a whiplash: ‘No photographs please.” The please was perfunctory, like  van Gogh’s ears.

As a result the few paintings I’ve posted here, were acquired on line. Two in particular, which I’d never seen before and which I loved.

After which we ate in the 'The Small Talk' sometimes known as the cafe on the corner, where I enjoyed fried chicken livers, bacon and mushrooms and two pints of beer. Culture begins and ends with the stomach; at least it does if you come from Liverpool


Maria Zannini said...

I didn't appreciate van Gogh in my youth. But now I examine his work much more closely. His madness reveals a world only seen by the touched and the introspective.

Do you watch the revamped Doctor Who? They had a wonderful script surrounding van Gogh. There was so much empathy and acceptance. Definitely one of the better Doctor Whos.

Mike Keyton said...

Sorry for the delay, Maria. Yes, we did see that Dr Who episode and it was truly excellent - as opposed to the last series with Jodie whittaker and its dreadfully childish, social justice scripting.