We live in the age of the internet - and in many ways this is a great thing for us. We can Google any artwork we want and it will appear on the screen in front of us. We can see a lot of art this way - but are we really seeing it? In so many instances - NO! No, that tiny image on the screen is a very poor representation of the real work of art.
I'm going to illustrate this from a trip my husband and I took to Amsterdam. He wanted to go to the Rijksmuseum to see Rembrandt's "The Night Watch." It has always been a favorite of his. This wasn't on my must see list so I hadn't prepared - I was vaguely familiar
with the painting - I had seen pictures of it. In thosse pictures I could see the 2 central figures and that there is some interplay of light and dark. I didn't find it very interesting.
When we stepped into the gallery and I saw the actual painting I was astonished. This painting is not just large - it is immense. It is approximately 14 feet by 20 feet. If you are currently at home - look at the wall opposite you. The painting is probably twice as tall as that wall and in many cases will be longer than the wall. There are dozens of people in it and each is fascinating. The use of light and dark is genius - that is so clear in the actual painting. I stared happily at it for quite some time.
The second example is not a specific painting but all of Van Gogh's work and the Van Gogh museum. In this case - size is not really the issue. Most of Van Gogh's paintings are fairly small. What you miss is the texture. There are no pictures of Van Gogh's paintings that represent them well because you cannot see the texture. It is a vital part of his paintings giving them much more depth and emotion than is conveyed by a flat image. Another reason to go to this museum is that it is wonderful to be able to view so many paintings by one artist in one place. Usually you are lucky if there are several paintings by an artist you like in one museum. Frequently there will only be one painting to represent a particular artist.
When you can see so much of an artist's work you get a much better understanding of the artist. It's an opportunity to seize if you happen to like a particular artist and like many people I am very fond of Van Gogh. I particularly enjoyed the paintings of almond and peach trees in the spring - they are joyful! This provides a strong contrast to many of his other paintings. The Van Gogh museum is definitely a favorite of mine.
My family and I are about to leave for France. We will start in Paris and then explore the Normandy coast. There will be many opportunities to revel in art. I will share some of our adventures when we return.