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Van Gogh and the Seasons

NGV plays host to whopping 60 works from the Dutch post-impressionist master.
By Imogen Baker
September 19, 2016
By Imogen Baker
September 19, 2016

Seasonal change is finally settling into Melbourne and with it comes one of the NGV's best annual exhibitions: the Winter Masterpieces series. This year, it's no secret they've snagged a true master, Vincent Van Gogh, the poster boy for post-impressionism and dramatic self-mutilation. Set to open on April 28 and running until July 19, blockbuster exhibition Van Gogh and the Seasons has been years in the making, and is expected by NGV to draw one of the gallery's biggest audiences yet.

Curator Sjraar Van Heugten has fine-tuned a thematic exhibition after Van Gogh's own heart, an exploration of the seasons in over 60 works. "In the seasons, he [Van Gogh] has perceived infinity, something larger than humanity. The seasons represent ongoing life," he says.

Inside the exhibition, you'll find a fascinating investigation into Van Gogh's life, alongside some of his best naturalist pieces. The artist's character, and his fluctuating mental health, often receive as much attention as his best works. The story of his life — and his death — are expounded wonderfully (and sensitively, snaps for not stigmatising mental health) through quotes, correspondence and essays. Although the collection itself doesn't feature his most famous works, you'll leave with a window into the artist's true persona and an understanding of the sheer breadth of his talent.

Structurally, Van Gogh and the Seasons is broken into (you guessed it) the four seasons, that masterfully weave a narrative through the artist's life. The NGV has produced a short accompanying film, narrated by David Stratton and David Wenham, that's worth a watch before you proceed through the exhibition, as it explains the structure of the exhibition and sets the mood. Feeling overwhelmed? We've put together five works to see at the exhibition.

Images: Tom Ross. 

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