Thursday, July 10, 2008

One-Stop Shopping

I just recently discovered a great site for all fans of Vincent Van Gogh called Tracing Vincent: The Vincent Van Gogh Network. Van Gogh remains, by far, the most popular modern artist with the general public. Tracing Vincent will educate and entertain everyone from the Van Gogh novice to the seasoned expert. They offer all the tools to trace Van Gogh, from a travel guide where you can walk in his footsteps to a list of museums who own his work to a list of movies touching on Van Gogh’s art and life, including trailers. I was surprised to learn that Alain Resnais, director of the great 1959 foreign film Hiroshima Mon Amour, also directed a film about Van Gogh as early as 1948, 8 years before the more famous Lust for Life.

What really sets Tracing Vincent apart from the other information-only sites is the interactive features that keep you up to date on all things Van Gogh. The blog keeps you up to date on all exhibitions that feature Van Gogh’s art and other Vincent-related events. You can even rate Van Gogh’s paintings and help your favorite rise to the top of the list. Starry Night (top of post, from 1889) currently tops the list, but I have high hopes for Wheatfield With Crows (above, from 1890), my personal favorite. If only Don McLean (below) would write a song about that one, too…

I especially enjoyed the forums section where Van Gogh nerds can really get their geek on with like-minded art lovers. People lucky enough to visit Arles and other places Van Gogh lived are also kind enough to share the photographs they took on their travels—the next best thing to going there yourself. I admit turning several shades of envious green looking at those photos of the beautiful countryside that inspired Van Gogh over a century ago and still inspires artists today. As I said before, the site offers something for everyone, from the casual Van Gogh fan to the hard-core Vincent-phile. Tracing Vincent opened for business just earlier this year, so the community is still forming and growing. If Tracing Vincent takes off, it may pave the way for similar forums to further the understanding and enjoyment of other great artists.

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