Thursday, September 27, 2012

Musings: Up Close Van Gogh's Famed Starry Night Over the Rhone at the National Museum of Singapore

From October 26, 2011 to February 3, 2012, Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone was part of the Dreams & Reality Exhibit from the Musee D'Orsay Paris Collection held at the National Museum of Singapore.

Dreams & Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing & Photography from Musee D'Orsay Paris at the National Museum of Singapore

By now, Starry Night Over the Rhone has been enjoying its much awaited comeback to Musee d'Orsay Paris ever since the Dreams & Reality Exhibit wrapped up in early February.

Musee D'Orsay Photo 
Taken by my bro-in-law/ fellow blogger Roland Luistro
Check out his links:
 Flicker Photostream
Bakasyonista: A Travel Blog

My family and I got a glimpse of Van Gogh's famous work when we visited the National Museum of Singapore late last year. Thanks to the power of digital technology, I can take a look at the famed panting whenever I want to and get to experience the same rush of excitement I felt the first time I laid eyes on it.

Van Gogh's Famed Starry Night Over the Rhone 
@ the National Museum of Singapore

Although overshadowed by its more famous sibling, The Starry Night, on display at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, Starry Night Over the Rhone reveals Van Gogh's innate brilliance as well as his tormented spirit. 

In September 1888, three months before his psychotic breakdown resulting to his eventual hospitalization, Van Gogh painted Starry Night Over the Rhone despite great difficulty, based on a letter to his brother Theo.

It might be hard to fully understand his sentiments at the time, but what we do know for a fact is that this particular painting became one of the leading examples of Expressionism.

Many regard this particular technique avant-garde because artists usually paint from a subjective point of view, that is to evoke moods, feelings or ideas rather than present life through rose-colored glasses. 

Van Gogh was one of those rare breed of artists who experimented with this particular technique because he too, became discontented with Impressionism.

Reproduction of Van Gogh's Self-Portrait 
available at the National Museum of Singapore

In Starry Night Over the Rhone for instance, Van Gogh made complementary colors appear two to three notches brighter than its impressionist counterparts.  

National Museum of Singapore
Starry Night  Over the Rhone (1888-1889) by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) 
© RMN (Musee d"Orsay)/ Herve Lewandowski

To add to the drama, Van Gogh applied divisionism in his artwork to produce patch-like brushstrokes that give the illusion of intense radiation light. 


And isn't it ingenious how Van Gogh presented the night sky with stars, gas lighting and their reflection appear flawlessly in the glimmering blue water? 

Truly epic!

Before leaving this one-of-a-kind exhibit, I made sure that my toddler Tutapel had his picture taken with this epic painting.Smiling Smiley Face

Although quite blurry, I still consider it a classic shot!

My toddler Tutapel with Van Gogh's Starry Night
@ the National Museum of Singapore

Back home, I began sharing with my son tidbits of information about Van Gogh, his life and art through Don Mclean's timeless composition, "Vincent."

The song bursts with colorful allusions to Van Gogh's paintings which will make just about anyone fall in love with the lyrics and the painter himself.

Vincent Mini Magnets (SGD 12) available at the Banyan Tree Museum Shop 
inside the National Museum of Singapore
Van Gogh Samplers:
Branch of Almond Tree in Flower
Les Iris
Cafe Terrace at Night
Wheatfield with Cypresses
Vase with Twelve Sunflowers
First Steps
Church at Auvers

On the contrary, Van Gogh remained unappreciated by the public back in the day, which somehow explained why there was only a single painting sold in his lifetime.  On a more touching note, Mclean's song also dealt with Van Gogh's tortured spirit plagued with mental disorders and eventual suicide.

As a fitting end to this blogpost, allow me to share with you Vincent in this deeply moving interpretation by Josh Groban.

Courtesy of PhilipCaruso on Youtube  
"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)


A Virtual Tour of Dreams & Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing & Photography from the Musee d'Orsay Paris Exhibit

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