Van Gogh’s celebrated Sunflowers, kept at the National Gallery in London, is about to travel beyond the borders of the United Kingdom! The iconic painting, together with other illustrious artworks of the museum, will arrive in Australia and Japan with the Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London. This is an unmissable appointment with some of the most remarkable paintings of European art.
Surely, the painting is one of the most visited attractions of the National Gallery. However, to leave the British capital there will also be Botticelli’s artworks and other flagships kept in the famed museum.
Since its acquisition, Van Gogh’Sunflowers has only been lent abroad three times. The first in 1955 to Paris and to Amsterdam in 2002 and 2013.
Van Gogh’Sunflowers: the history
Sunflowers are a series of oil paintings on canvas realized between 1888 and 1889. Already in Paris, in the late summer of 1887, the artist painted some cut sunflowers, part of a series now divided between the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Kunstmuseum in Bern.
The Dutch post-impressionist painter loved sunflowers for the vibrancy of their colors. However, Van Gogh loved these flowers also because they were not elegant and refined, but strong and sturdy.
The series of Van Gogh’Sunflowers in pots, the most famous, was born a period of vitality and optimism, during the summer awaiting the arrival of his friend Gauguin. The letters to the younger brother Theo speak of feverish activity, in anticipation of the arrival of the guest.
Vincent hoped to surprise his friend and convince him to move to Arles, sanctioning a life and artistic partnership. In October 1888, finally, Gauguin arrived in Arles. However, he never considered it a possible home, completely disregarding the hopes of his artistic partner. A prolific period of activity began but characterized by quarrels. These led to a final breaking in December of the same year, with the departure of Gaugin for Tahiti.
Botticelli to Van Gogh Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London
Among the artists featured in the Botticelli to Van Gogh show: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London there will also be works by Tiziano, Turner, Cézanne, Goya and Gauguin himself. Among the key works will be Rembrandt’s Self-portrait at the age of 63 (1669) and Vermeer’s A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (1670-72).
This detailed exhibition explores illustrious periods in Western European art. On review, there will be the most impressive testimonials of the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch painting of the Golden Age. In addition, there will be a focus on Van Dyck and British portraiture. On display also the Spanish art from the seventeenth century.
This is the largest group of artworks that the National Gallery has ever loaned. In London, the paintings will be off view for over a year.
The collection will go on view at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo in March (3 March-14 June 2020) and Osaka’s National Museum of Art (7 July-18 October 2020). There is already a great fervour for the two Japanese exhibitions since it’s expected to have around one million visitors.
The third and final stage of Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London will be in Australia. The show will reach Canberra in November at the National Gallery of Australia.