Vincent van Gogh

Themes and References in Joanna Newsom’s Sapokanikan

Yesterday Joanna Newsom announced Divers, her fourth studio album and her first since 2010’s beautiful and generous Have One on Me. Divers is due out on 23 October on Drag City. Accompanying this revelation, she also unveiled the video for the album’s first single. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, ‘Sapokanikan’ shows Newsom strolling, striding, and sashaying through the streets of New York City. ‘Sapokanikan’ is…

Woman Reading and The Oasis of Matisse

The Oasis of Matisse – billed as the largest ever exhibition of Henri Matisse’s work in the Netherlands; and as the first Matisse retrospective of any size in the country for fifty years – is currently at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam. It will run until 16 August. The Stedelijk is boasting an unusual approach to such a retrospective. The ground…

A Cultural History of the Potato as Earth Apple

The etymology of the word ‘apple’ takes us back to the Early Middle Ages, when it appeared in various related forms across the Germanic languages: as ‘apful’/’aphul’ or ‘apfel’/’aphel’ in Old High German, ‘appel’ in Old Frisian, ‘appul’ in Old Saxon, ‘epli’ in Old Icelandic, ‘æplæ’ or ‘æpæl’ in Old Danish, and so on. At the time, the word referred sometimes…

Van Gogh’s Blossoming Orchard Triptych

Van Gogh’s Blossoming Orchard Triptych

In early April, I began a series on the art of Vincent van Gogh. Propelled by a thematic display of his works at the Hermitage Amsterdam, my series continued on as these works were removed and transported back across the city for the reopening of the Van Gogh Museum, on 1 May, and with a new exhibition, entitled Van Gogh…

Van Gogh in Paris: The Radicalising of a Palette and a Brush

Van Gogh in Paris: The Radicalising of a Palette and a Brush

A few weekends ago, I began what is intended as a short series, impelled by the selection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh which have been on show at the Hermitage Amsterdam. The exhibition there, entitled Vincent, comprised a thematic arrangement of seventy-five paintings whilst the Van Gogh Museum was undergoing refurbishment. It came to a close – having run…

Banks of the Marne, by Cézanne

Banks of the Marne, by Cézanne

The Hermitage Amsterdam is currently home to two complementary exhibitions. The first, Impressionism: Sensation and Inspiration, with a tagline explaining that the works on display are ‘Highlights from the Hermitage’, endeavours to place the Impressionists within their French Nineteenth Century context. It shows Neoclassicists Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme, the Romanticism of Delacroix – who Van Gogh regarded as the supreme colourist,…