1,000+ Artworks by Vincent Van Gogh Digitized & Put Online by Dutch Museums: Enter Van Gogh Worldwide

It gets dark before din­ner now in my part of the world, a recipe for sea­son­al depres­sion. Vin­cent van Gogh wrote about such low feel­ings with deep insight. “One feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bot­tom of a deep dark well, utter­ly help­less.” Yet, when he looked up at the night sky he saw not dark­ness but blaz­ing light: a full moon shines yel­low from White House at Night like the sun, and peeks like a gold coin from behind blue moun­tains in Land­scape with Wheat Sheaves and Ris­ing Moon. The stars in Star­ry Night Over the Rhône appear like fire­works. We are all famil­iar with the blaz­ing night sky of its sequel, The Star­ry Night.

It’s been sug­gest­ed that Van Gogh saw halos of light because of lead poi­son­ing from his paint, and that the Dig­i­tal­is Dr. Gachet pre­scribed for his tem­po­ral lobe epilep­sy caused him to “see in yel­low,” the Van Gogh Gallery Blog writes, “or see yel­low spots which could explain van Gogh’s con­sis­tent use of the col­or yel­low in his lat­er works.”

His most bril­liant works date from this lat­er peri­od, dur­ing his time at the hos­pi­tal at Arles, where he paint­ed his famous bed­room. All of these paint­ings, and hun­dreds more, can be found in high-res­o­lu­tion scans at the new van Gogh resource, Van Gogh World­wide, “a con­sor­tium of muse­ums,” notes Madeleine Muz­dakis at My Mod­ern Met, “doing their part to bring the work of one of the world’s most famous artists to the glob­al mass­es.”

The muse­ums rep­re­sent­ed here are all in the Nether­lands and include the Van Gogh Muse­um, Kröller-Müller Muse­um, the Rijksmu­se­um, the Nether­lands Insti­tute for Art His­to­ry, and the Muse­um Boi­j­mans Van Beunin­gen. Van Gogh was not only a pro­lif­ic painter, of shin­ing night scenes and oth­er­wise, but he was “also a pro­lif­ic sketch artist. His pen­cil and paper draw­ings are worth explo­ration; they depict land­scapes as well as emo­tive fig­ures from Van Gogh’s every­day life. Van Gogh World­wide pro­vides insight into these works of art and the artist behind them. One can also find behind-the-scenes muse­um infor­ma­tion, such as details of restora­tions, ver­so (back) images, and oth­er cura­to­r­i­al notes.”

Van Gogh World­wide expands oth­er dig­i­tal col­lec­tions like the Van Gogh Museum’s almost 1,000 online works. Where that resource includes short infor­ma­tion­al arti­cles and links to lit­er­a­ture about the art­works, Van Gogh World­wide does not, as yet, fea­ture such addi­tion­al mate­ri­als, but it does include links to Van Gogh’s let­ters. In one of them, he writes to his broth­er, Theo, about their par­ents: “They’ll find it dif­fi­cult to under­stand my state of mind, and not know what dri­ves me when they see me do things that seem strange and pecu­liar to them—will blame them on dis­sat­is­fac­tion, indif­fer­ence or non­cha­lance, while the cause lies else­where, name­ly the desire, at all costs, to pur­sue what I must have for my work.”

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Near­ly 1,000 Paint­ings & Draw­ings by Vin­cent van Gogh Now Dig­i­tized and Put Online: View/Download the Col­lec­tion

Take a Jour­ney Inside Vin­cent Van Gogh’s Paint­ings with a New Dig­i­tal Exhi­bi­tion

In a Bril­liant Light: Van Gogh in Arles–A Free Doc­u­men­tary

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness


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  • Adji Erry says:

    Hi there.

    I think to dis­cov­er more unseen van gogh we should scanned all paint­ings with XRF..
    And col­lects the data of min­er­als inside the paint Vin­cen­t’s used in every places he stayed.

    Tita­ni­um white pig­ment was also being use by Camille pis­saro who died in 1903, and tita­ni­um paint in tube was in pro­duc­tion in 1905.. how that pos­si­ble?

    And we know that Camille pis­saro is the father of neo impreaion­ist move­ment, fol­low by cezanne, seu­rat, gau­g­in and van gogh.

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