• Giorgia Nocera

Van Gogh Worldwide: Enjoy art in a Safe Way

A second wave of COVID-19 is hitting Europe and we already know what to expect: new lockdowns are implemented across Europe, bars and restaurants are closed, travelling is not allowed, people can’t leave their houses, museums and art galleries are shut.

We all know very well how difficult it is to give up our hobbies and activities during lockdown, therefore a consortium of museums in Netherlands is doing their part to let people enjoy beauty and culture in a safe way.

The Kroller-Muller Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History), with support from the Mondriaan Fund and the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, have launched Van Gogh Worldwide.


Self-Portrait” by Vincent van Gogh, 1887, Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain])

Van Gogh Worldwide is a digital platform for all the scientific knowledge and information about the work of Vincent van Gogh. The website shows details of the paintings, drawings and prints, as published in Jacob Baart de la Faille’s oeuvre catalogue from 1970. The object data, letter references, provenance, exhibition and literature data, as well as the material-technical information on these works, is available. Van Gogh lived from 1853 to 1890, but his most famous paintings were completed in the final two years of his life. Many of these oil paintings that made him one of the greatest post-impressionism painters of the XXI century, are available to view through Van Gogh Worldwide. Although Van Gogh was best known for oil masterpieces such as The Starry Night, he was also a prolific sketch artist.


The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, 1889, Museum of Modern Art. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain])

His pencil and paper drawings are representative of his daily life and are very interesting to know more about the artist. Van Gogh Worldwide provides insight into these works of art and the artist; it also offers fascinating behind-the-scenes museum information, such as details of restorations and other noteworthy curatorial notes.


Worn Out” by Vincent van Gogh, November 1882, Van Gogh Museum. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain])

At the moment, Van Gogh Worldwide only includes works (over 300 paintings and around 900 works on paper) held in Dutch museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum, Kröller-Müller Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands Institute for Art History, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The future plan is to include Van Gogh’s works from the rest of the world, for a total of around 2000 works by the artist.

The founding partners possess detailed art-historical and material-technical information on Van Gogh’s work. Furthermore, they combine specialised knowledge about making information digitally available. Moreover, there is a large number of collaborators, including museums, research institutions and private individuals and their contributions are presented in the website as linked data: data from different sources is connected as a whole.

Overall, Van Gogh Worldwide is a great opportunity for art enthusiasts globally to enjoy and know more about one of the most important artist of all time, as well as celebrate a Dutch national treasure and inspire people to visit the country as soon as it will be possible.

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