Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Why Van Gogh Is Ready for His Close Up
“All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up,” says washed-up silent film star Norma Desmond in the final scene of Billy Wilder’s unforgettable 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. Gloria Swanson caps off her Oscar-nominated performance as Norma by walking into the camera’s lens and revealing in that final close up the full extent of her sick and tortured mind. In Van Gogh: Up Close, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 6, 2012, Vincent Van Gogh seems finally ready for his close up, too, but with an opposite effect. The mad, sad, and dangerous to know Vincent seen through the telephoto lens of legend gives way here to a clear-eyed view of an intensely focused artist who, despite personal difficulties, achieved greatness in art and communed intimately with nature in a way not only artistically revolutionary, but also therapeutic for himself and others. “All right, art loving public,” Van Gogh: Up Close shouts, “I’m ready for my close-up.” Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Why Van Gogh Is Ready for His Close Up."
[Many thanks to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the image above from, a review copy of the catalog to, an invitation to the press preview for, and other press materials related to Van Gogh: Up Close, which runs at the museum through May 6, 2012.]