Sunday Afternoon with Van Gogh

The National Gallery of Victoria has lately been having some stellar exhibitions. The current exhibition is the Van Gogh and the Seasons, this exhibition is the largest collection of Van Gogh artwork to travel Australia, by which I mean you can only see it in Melbourne, as it is exclusively being shown at NGV. It is being shown till 2nd of July.


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I headed out with some girl friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the hope of experiencing some Melbourne art, and it seemed looking at the length of the queue to both buy tickets and then enter the exhibition, that half of Melbourne had also decided the same! I would strongly advise that if you are keen on going on a weekend, that you buy the tickets online. We were lucky as one of my friends had brought her adorable little baby girl with her, and so we were quickly ushered via the “priority” entrances by the very helpful NGV staff. So take note all you new mums who think going along to this exhibition maybe too hard, and really for anyone who is unable to stand for very long, NGV is very accommodating of those with needs and will take very good care of you.

The exhibition starts with an introductory video talking briefly talking about Van Gogh’s life and his thoughts on the four seasons of the year. The exhibition then flows on from this to artists and artwork that inspired his work throughout his artistic career. I personally thought this was very insightful, many of us have studied Van Gogh among other famous artists during high school, but how many of us actually remember anything except that he cut his ear off? I am no art buff, and don’t proclaim to know much about art, so I went in with just wanting to see the “famous” works that I knew of. The initial part of this exhibition that looked at his many different inspirations, one of which was Japanese art was fascinating. Back in the day (well before globalisation), the lifestyle/culture of Japan would have been so vastly different to life in Europe, and without the internet to instantly “Google” for something, it is amazing that he came across so many varied inspirations.

Once past the corridor of inspirations you are met with short summaries of his life then finally his art work split into four stages as winter, spring, summer and autumn. As you move from season to season, you can see his artwork maturing from his earlier more unknown projects to his later famous projects. It is a enlightening to walk through his artistic career and see it evolve in front of you. The information signs are well worth the pause and read. I will not spoil the exhibition and tell you which of his famous artworks are displayed during this exhibition.

There are also insightful quotes from him that are posted all around the exhibition. If you are taking kids and you are concerned that they will be bored, fear not, there were many kids there, and a lot of them were reading the signs that were aimed specifically at them.

As we reached the end of the exhibition, we felt we had to come back on a less crowded day to enjoy the art work in a more ambient atmosphere, and have more time to contemplate the artwork and Van Gogh’s insightful words.


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