I meant to include our outing to Tate Britain to see the Van Gogh exhibition last year in my recent London series (see here, here and here). It ran from March to August 2019 though doesn’t really qualify for the theme “Off The Tourist Trail in London”. Sold out sessions and a strict entry policy at your scheduled time spot only meant it was rather the opposite – packed and crowded!
I last saw Van Gogh paintings in real life at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris when we visited back in 2004 and despite the crowds this exhibition was a real treat. As its name suggests the exhibition focused on Van Gogh’s links to Britain – he worked as a trainee art dealer in London between 1873 and 1876. Van Gogh’s paintings and story were interspersed with the social history of the time including his interest in the novels of Charles Dickens and George Eliot plus his legacy to British painters who were later inspired by his works.
I have always found it fascinating how, as his depression and melancholy deteriorated, Van Gogh’s paintings grew brighter and more colourful. They are never garish though – the colours, though rich and deep, are still subtle. I had seen the film, “At Eternity’s Gate” earlier in the year, which gives a dramatic representation of the final years of Van Gogh’s life and tragically early death so the exhibition was well-timed. Despite the tortured soul of the artist the paintings are inspiring and draw you in – hopefully a small antidote to the current world concerns and depressing news (photos were allowed inside the exhibition).
Beforehand we had enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the White Swan Pub in Pimlico. The old pub situated on the corner of Vauxhall Bridge Road and Causton Street has been trading as a public house since 1759. It must have seen plenty of interesting characters and patrons through its doors over the years! A couple of minutes walk along the road from the pub takes you to the River Thames. This was the mooring spot where back in the day boats would dock in order to take unfortunate prisoners from Millbank prison to Australia!
The quote on the blackboard in the pub reads, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people” (Vincent Van Gogh).
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