Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch post-impressionist painter. Although today he is highly regarded, during his lifetime he received little recognition and only sold one painting. His sunflower series may be his most popular work, but he was prolific, completing more than 800 paintings in ten years.
"I yawned and rubbed my eyes. I tried to focus on the wall of paintings in front of me. My feet were killing me. I'd rather be anywhere outside, playing with my friends, even brushing my teeth anywhere but this art museum. Then I heard a strange sound behind me..." Trapped inside a painting, you get to explore the pallette, style and artist before finding your way out. I loved this interactive adventure. It is the only one of today's picks specifically designed for elementary-age kids.
The National Gallery of Arts' Van Gogh's Van Goghs exhibit closed in 1999. But through the magic of the Internet, you can still see it. The virtual museum tour comes in the two flavors. If you have a high-speed connection, I recommend the QuickTime VR version. Either way, the exhibit features seventy-two paintings, and audio commentary. View the brochure for a van Gogh bio and timeline. Visit the Teaching Program section for lesson plans and an audio pronunciation guide (useful for all the French names and places.)
"Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh, celebrated today for their profound impact on the history of modern painting, were both relative latecomers to art. By the time they met in the autumn of 1887, both men were well into their thirties (Gauguin 39, van Gogh 34), and each had several failed careers behind him." In 1888, the two artists lived and worked together for several months in a yellow house in Arles, France. Explore the work they did before, during, and after their time together in the Studio of the South.
This page from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is my pick of the day because it includes the arty multimedia Van Gogh & Gauguin exhibit (it's not sequential, so just click around and enjoy), a nice selection of van Gogh e-cards, and an amazing 3D tour of the permanent museum collection. Unfortunately the 3D tour requires a unique Windows plugin (yes, I hated this part too) but the resulting tour is worth it. Walking around the museum (and chatting with other visitors), I felt as if I was inside a video game. Wow!
David Brooks spent eight years, and invested thousands of hours, creating this complete online catalog of van Gogh's works. The Vincent van Gogh Gallery website displays 864 paintings, 1037 drawings, 150 watercolors, ten graphic works (lithographs and etchings), and 133 sketches from van Gogh's personal correspondence. And to think that van Gogh created all this in just ten years! In addition to the massive image collection, the gallery also includes Van Gogh's letters, commentary (called "InSites") and a world map showing all the museums that house van Gogh artwork.