I forget how lucky I am 40 minutes from central London and all the free national museums and galleries. I am ashamed to say I do sometimes grumble about the fact we have to pay to get into exhibitions. My jaunt to the National Gallery on Tuesday with my trusty London Explorer friend @AliceMartha made me realise that I should actually just go to see the galleries and museums for their free collections!!
We did however have a purpose, to go and see the sunflowers. I knew that Van Gogh hand painted several but did not realise that there were 7. The two on show were given to his friend and then “Frenemy” artist Paul Gauguin and they haven’t been displayed together in London for 65 Years. The good news is to view them is Free yes that’s right Free however you do need to queue. Midweek late morning we queued about 20-25 minutes but the wait was worth it!
The famous sunflower painting the one we can see in our minds eye is depicting mostly vibrant flowers however the pair on display are sister paintings painted about a near the end of his life. What struck me was that the flowers were visibly in decay they looked like that had been sitting in the vases a few days too long the damp smell of decaying flowers could almost be sensed of the canvas.
The colours although bright almost highlighted the decay of the plants, the drooping heads of the flowers bowing to the vase possibly reflecting the thoughts of the troubled artist. The delicacy of the dropped petals exquisitely executed.
The texture that oil paint gives these paints also brings the pictures alive. I am not sure that you would have the same effect if the painting had been done in water colours.
When leaving the room you enter into a larger space with other examples of his work including the picture of a chair. What I find most moving about Van Gogh’s pictures s his ability to bring life to everyday objects like a bed, a chair and vase of flowers.
To find out more on Van Gogh mental health check out my earlier post Here
The sunflowers are together for a limited time until April 27th 2014.