An amazing new Van Gogh exhibition just opened

Starry night: “Van Gogh and Britain” will be shown at the Tate Britain from now until August 11.

Is Vincent Van Gogh the greatest artist in history? A major new exhibition of his work has opened at the Tate Britain in London. Who is Van Gogh and why is he so popular?

What’s happening

The last time there was a big Van Gogh show in London, it was so popular that the crowds wore through the floorboards. It was just after the Second World War. People were “colour-starved,” as one newspaper put it.

Now a new exhibition has opened at the Tate Britain. It promises to be just as popular.

Find out more

Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853. He lived a troubled life. He battled with depression and mental illness. He struggled to sell his paintings. He once chopped off part of his own ear in a rage.

He was just 37 when he killed himself.

Despite this, his paintings are full of colour and warmth. He painted in a new style called Impressionism. Instead of painting scenes realistically, he painted the way they made him feel.

His most famous paintings are of sunflowers and starry nights.

Now he is remembered as one of the best painters to ever live. Could he be the best?

Some say…

Yes. People have been inspired by the colours and the emotions in his paintings for over a century. The sadness of his life story makes the hopeful yellow sunflowers seem even more beautiful. It is fitting that he is back in Britain at a time of uncertainty.

Others think…

No. The best painters show emotion while also creating a realistic picture. For this, no one has ever been able to top Leonardo da Vinci. Five hundred years later, the Mona Lisa still looks like a real person about to smile. Da Vinci is the master.

You Decide

  1. Who is your favourite artist?

Activities

  1. Paint a scene from your local neighbourhood which is inspired by Van Gogh’s impressionist style. Use lots of colour, and remember that how the scene makes you feel is more important than how accurate it is.

Some People Say...

Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

Vincent Van Gogh

What do you think?

Word Watch

Exhibition
A museum show. The word “exhibit” means to put on display.
Depression
Long periods of sadness and dejection.
Mental illness
Illnesses of the mind rather than the body.
Impressionism
A nineteenth-century artistic style. It often involved painting quickly outdoors, rather than working from sketches later. It uses lots of small, individual brushstrokes to make a whole picture.
Realistically
Accurately, or true to life.
Normality
The state of being normal.

Subjects

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