A Completely Different Van Gogh

The paintings, letters, and sketches included in letters of world-renowned painter Vincent Van Gogh are on exhibit in London.

The exhibition, ‘The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters’, opened recently at the Royal Academy of Arts. It features close to a hundred works on loan from various museums around the world, most notably from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Curated by Ann Dumas, the exhibition includes the letters the artist wrote to his brother Theo and to other painters of the period such as Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. These letters, which also contain sketches for paintings the artist had already painted or was working on, reveal a completely different Van Gogh. A painter who was at the same time a very good writer, a sensitive artist and a painter who planned his paintings in detail before he painted them. A must-see for those curious about the Van Gogh beyond the epithets of painter and mad genius. Through April 18.

Vincent Van Gogh was born in the town of Zundert in southern Holland in 1853, to a family of six children. Taking up painting in 1880, he made more than 800 paintings and more than 1200 drawings during his ten-year artistic career which was fraught with suicide attempts. The painter ended his life in the northern French town of Auvers-sur-Oise on June 27, 1890. He was 37 years old.