by John Leighton, director general of the National Galleries of Scotland
Published on 27 Oct 2009
A massive new edition of Vincent Van Gogh’s letters has been released
If Vincent van Gogh had never lifted a paint brush nor touched a single sketchpad with a pencil, he would still be remembered as a great writer.
The letters he wrote to his friends and family have long been recognised as much more than the mere jottings of a painter but as a great literary achievement in their own right. As Vincent himself remarked to his younger brother Theo, “…drawing in words is also an art”.
Most of us have only caught glimpses of the expressive power of Van Gogh’s writings, but a massive new edition of the letters now allows anyone to appreciate this side of his work in full.
The edition has been produced in traditional book form (in six volumes) but the prime publication is a superb new website (www.vangoghletters.org), freely available to all users.
The web edition brings together all the original texts with completely new translations, annotations and is illustrated with all the relevant works of art. It is an amazing new resource which will, quite simply, transform our view of Van Gogh and his achievement as both artist and writer.
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