Monday, 15 July 2013

"Always continue walking a lot and loving nature"

A Wheatfield with Cypresses, Van Gogh 1889
(Have you seen the cypresses on Van Gogh Walk?)

The National Gallery puts on interesting free talks - daily at 4pm taking a quick look at paintings in the collection, and occasional lunchtime seminars to discover more about the artist behind them. This month, look out for:

- a lunchtime talk on 29th July 1-1.45 discussing Van Gogh's formative time in London, and the art, literature, people and buildings that inspired him.

- a 10 minute talk on  "A Wheatfield with Cypresses" this afternoon and next Monday at 4pm.

"Always continue walking a lot and loving nature for that's the real way to understand art better and better" - advice from Van Gogh to his brother.

Vincent wrote about his walks to his brother Theo
If you want to try to put yourself in Van Gogh's shoes you could walk to the National Gallery from Van Gogh's lodgings at 87 Hackford Road as he used to, taking in many of the sights that would have been familiar to him in Victorian London.

We know from his letters that Vincent van Gogh was a keen walker and he appreciated the space and freedom that walking gives to think, observe and explore.

When he was staying here he wrote to his brother:

"I walk here as much as I can....I enjoy the walk from home to the office and in the evening from the office back home. It takes about three-quarters of an hour."

How does your journey to work compare?

Thanks very much to Suzy and George for researching and writing the notes below of Vincent's walk to work (click to enlarge) and for running occasional Secret Lambeth guided tours. This walk to work passes close to the National Gallery where you can see several original Van Gogh works as well as some of the paintings he admired himself on his visits there.

We are planning our next guided walk to another of Van Gogh's haunts. We hope to share the notes for our next route in September.