AMSTERDAM.- The Van Gogh Museum
launched its new website. It will direct its focus on the stories about the life and work of the best-known Dutch artist. Visitors will be able to unravel various themes related to Van Gogh's work and life. The website features the permanent collection of the museum; in detail and with an option to share it with the different social media. The extensive database of the collection can be searched via a range of entries: genre, location, subject or year, for example. The main navigation is transparent and it is divided into three major topics: Visit the museum, Meet Vincent and About the museum. The website is fully responsive and suitable for all devices.
The Van Gogh Museum holds a wealth of knowledge about the life and work of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). It manages the largest collection of paintings, drawings and prints by Van Gogh worldwide (201 paintings, 437 drawings and 31 prints). Making the stories about Van Gogh's world accessible to the public is an important mission of the museum and part of the management of this substantial wealth. The colourful stories about Van Gogh's life and work and the museum collection are therefore the focal point of the new website of the Van Gogh Museum.
Colour and Nature
These wonderful stories are now presented interactively to enrich and inspire the many Van Gogh fans. This storytelling is told by means of themes that were important in Van Gogh's life and work, such as nature, friendship and colour. The story of each theme will be unravelled in different ways, enabling the visitor to scroll through them and to discover new things all the time.
For example, the story about colour, Searching for contrast. From mixed colours to bright and intense, shows how Van Gogh's colour palette developed. A letter by the young Vincent that can be read online reveals how much value he attached to colour. The visitor to the website will encounter Charles Blanc's colour circle that Van Gogh used to discover how colours may enhance each other. You can zoom into Head of a Woman (1885) and The Potato Eaters (1885), paintings that reveal that during his Dutch period he created the same dark ash and earth colours that were used by his fellow artists in the Netherlands. The visitor to the website can scroll further down to find out how Van Gogh, while admiring a ceiling painting by Delacroix in Paris, discovered how bright colours can enhance each other. Paintings and letters reveal how and why Van Gogh started painting in a brighter, clearer and looser style in France. Van Gogh's search would finally end in a colour explosion in the South of France, illustrated by works such as Irises (1890) and The Sower (1888).
The story about nature, Nature and the artist. Solace and inspiration in the open air, clarifies how Van Gogh experienced the connection between nature and his work. In a letter dated from 1874 that can be read online, Vincent recommends Theo to go frequently on long walks and to love nature, because this is the true way to get to understand art better and better. Van Gogh liked to paint en plein air even though it came with certain disadvantages:
I had to pick at least a hundred flies or more from the canvases that you'll receive and then I'm not even counting the dust and sand &c. not to mention that one or more branches will have scratched them while I carried them across the heather and through hedges...
The stories on the new website will place Vincent van Gogh in the context of his time and dispel persistent myths. For instance, Van Gogh was no impulsive artist, but he planned and thought in advance what he wanted to achieve. He was not a solitary artist, but he was involved in the developments with respect to art, literature and politics.
Active involvement of the public
Worldwide, millions of Van Gogh fans share their passion for this best-known Dutch artist. The new website of the museum therefore focuses on making Vincent van Gogh's world accessible. This knowledge is far from being static; on the contrary, it is forever changing. Accordingly, a new theme will be published on the website every two months: Van Gogh's relationship with his brother Theo will be highlighted in September; a wonderful story about his friendships will be presented online by the end of 2014. Visitors to the website and the museum are invited to give input so as to help decide what the story line may be in 2015.
Online fan base
Visitors to the website can discover the collection by means of top-quality images: the entire museum collection can be viewed full screen, it is possible to zoom out and into the tiniest details. All works on the website can be downloaded for free and can be shared with all the social media. The website is fully responsive, suitable for various screen dimensions, from pc to laptop, from tablet to smartphone. Fabrique is responsible for the design of the website, Q42 for the technical realization. The information on the website is in Dutch and English.
As well as an average 1.5 million annual visitors to the museum, the Van Gogh Museum is also popular with the social media: 432,429 likes op Facebook, 89.9K followers on Twitter and 3.7 million followers on Google+.