The official experience created by the Van Gogh Museum (in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) arrived in Lisbon on February 28th, 2020, after having been to cities such as Beijing (in China), Barcelona (in Spain), and Seoul (in South Korea). Through an innovative and immersive concept, Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon is an exhibition designed to dazzle all ages.
More than a “traveling museum”, this is an unprecedented and multisensory journey through the life and work of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, whose paintings are known all over the world. From the artist’s emergence in the 1880s to his departure to the south of France and consequent illness, Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon is an original way of getting to know the human being that gives his name!
So, do you want to know more about Meet Vincent Van Gogh In Lisbon: Best Tips For Visiting? Keep reading!
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- Brief History of Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
- What to See at Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
- Practical Guide to Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
- More Posts about Portugal
- More Posts about Museum Guides
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Brief History of Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
Meet Vincent Van Gogh began its world tour on June 15th, 2016, at Beijing’s Golden Resources Mall (or Jinyuan Yansha Shopping Mall), having stayed in the Chinese capital until September 16th of the same year. Its debut in Europe happened three years later, when it was on display in Barcelona’s Old Harbor, between March 14th and July 14th, 2019.
While captivating the Spanish public, Meet Vincent Van Gogh returned to the Asian continent, this time to Seoul’s Woojung Art Center. The experience lasted for about four months in the capital of South Korea, more specifically from April 19th to August 25th, 2019.
On February 7th, 2020, it was the UK’s turn to host this “traveling museum” at London’s South Bank. On February 28th, 2020, Meet Vincent Van Gogh arrived in Portugal and chose the Terreiro das Missas in Belém (Lisbon) as its location.
What to See at Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
Conceived by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon features life-size replicas of villages, streets, cafes, and houses where the Dutch artist lived, worked, and/or was inspired. In addition, you can find numerous reproductions of his works, achieved through 3D printing!
In sum, the use of digital technology has allowed a modern and creative approach to the personality and work of one of the most celebrated painters in the last one hundred and fifty years. It’s the perfect combination of art with history and entertainment, capable of captivating all types of audiences.
With the slogan “Experience a journey through his life”, Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon is divided into six galleries (or exhibition spaces), with the following names:
- Early Life (1853-1879): Zundert and The Hague (the Netherlands), and London (United Kingdom)
- Emerging Artist (1880-1885): Brussels (Belgium), Etten, The Hague, Emmen, and Nuenen (the Netherlands)
- Emerging Artist (1886-1887): Antwerp (Belgium) and Paris (France)
- In the South (1888): Arles and Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (France)
- Illness & Creativity (1889-1890): Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (more specifically, Saint-Paul-de-Mausole‘s asylum) and Auvers-sur-Oise (France)
- Success (1891-Today): Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and worldwide recognition
Emerging Artist (1886-1887)
Vincent Van Gogh passed away at the age of 37, but his last four years were absolutely decisive for the legacy he left us. In fact, did you know that Van Gogh had been active as an artist for ten years? Yes, for ten years only!
The truth is that his short career makes his works of art even more exceptional. After all, the Dutch artist created more than 1000 drawings and 900 oil paintings, 150 watercolor paintings, 10 graphic works, 9 lithographs, and 1 etching!
After a brief introduction about his childhood, youth, and first years of professional activity, here comes one of my favorite spaces in the entire exhibition: a full-scale representation of the Café du Tambourin, at number 62 of the Boulevard de Clichy, in Paris!
Naquela altura, Vincent Van Gogh vivia com o seu irmão Theo em Montmartre e pintava naturezas-mortas – destinadas à decoração do Café du Tambourin – em troca de refeições gratuitas no local. Este restaurante e cabaret era frequentado por diversos pintores, escritores e críticos de arte, como Édouard Dantan, Paul Gauguin, Louis Anquetin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec e Émile Bernard, entre outros.
O Café du Tambourin foi igualmente o primeiro espaço na capital francesa onde Van Gogh exibiu as suas pinturas, neste caso, as naturezas-mortas oferecidas à proprietária do restaurante, Agostina Segatori. De forma criativa e original, Meet Vincent Van Gogh decorou as mesas com fotografias, desenhos, esboços e cartas, várias das mais de 900 cartas (a maioria escritas ao seu irmão Theo van Gogh).
In the South (1888)
The fourth gallery of Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon focuses on the period that the artist spent in Arles, a small town in the south of France. The year 1888 proved to be one of the most prolific of his career, resulting in more than 200 paintings and about a hundred drawings and watercolors.
Two elements that stand out in this section are the room and pension where Van Gogh lived and which were immortalized in paintings such as “The Yellow House (The Street)” and “Bedroom in Arles”. The latter consists of three versions, on display at the Van Gogh Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Orsay Museum, respectively.
Illness & Creativity (1889-1890)
Vincent Van Gogh created some of his most emblematic works in Arles (“Starry Night Over the Rhône” or “The Night Café” – in addition to those mentioned above), but it was also at this time that his mental health deteriorated dramatically.
The self-mutilation of the left ear in December 1888 led to his admission to a local hospital. And despite having recovered and returned to the “Yellow House”, Van Gogh spent the following months between home and the hospital, due to outbreaks, hallucinations, and delusions.
In May 1889, Vincent Van Gogh interned himself voluntarily in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole Asylum, where he remained for a year. This prolonged lockdown limited the subjects of his paintings, even though he painted a lot.
The corridors and gardens of the former Saint-Paul monastery became the object of study for the artist, as well as the cypress and olive trees he observed on his small supervised walks. In this penultimate part of Meet Vincent Van Gogh, it’s also possible to observe the masterpiece “The Starry Night”, in addition to “The Siesta” and “Almond Blossom”.
In May 1890, Van Gogh returned to the north of France and settled in the small village of Auvers-Sur-Oise. The main objective was to be closer to his brother Theo – who lived in Paris and wanted Vincent to be treated by Dr. Paul Gachet, a local amateur painter, and homeopathic doctor.
Auvers-sur-Oise was, since the second half of the 19th century, a true community of artists. Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cézanne were some of the personalities who lived there.
Vincent Van Gogh stayed at the Auberge Ravoux, an old inn converted into the Maison de Van Gogh museum. In the next two months, the post-impressionist master created approximately 70 oil paintings, some of them unfinished.
This is because on July 27th, 1890, Van Gogh fired a revolver at his chest and the doctors were unable to remove the bullet. Theo heard the news and immediately traveled to Auvers-Sur-Oise, who died two days later, the victim of an infection caused by the gunshot wound.
Theo van Gogh, who was already ill, became much worse after Vincent‘s death and died on January 25th, 1891. In 1914, his widow Johanna van Gogh-Bonger published the correspondence of the two brothers and had Theo‘s body transferred to the cemetery of Auvers.
From 1891, his works began to be exhibited in several European capitals and Vincent Van Gogh‘s fame grew. The hundreds of letters, now published, attracted a lot of attention and curiosity in the world of pop culture and Vincent Willem Van Gogh (the artist’s nephew) decided to found the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, to display his uncle’s creations.
Practical Guide to Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon
When I visited Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon, Portugal had started the period of lockdown lift – similarly to what happened in the year 2020. Therefore, I can assure you that all security measures were being taken, from the rule of social distancing to the regular disinfection of spaces and objects.
That being said, I’ll give you some tips so that you can enjoy this experience with all the tranquility possible too. And even though the practical information (schedules, tickets, access, etc.) can be consulted on the Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon official website, I decided to include it in this visitor’s guide.
1. Buy the Ticket in Advance
Tickets for Meet Vincent Van Gogh tickets come at two different prices: one from Monday to Friday and the other for weekends and holidays. Therefore, tickets during the week cost €13 (adults) and €9 (students, children from 4 to 17 years old, seniors over 65, people with reduced mobility, blind and deaf).
On the other hand, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, prices go up by €2. That is, the full fare goes up to €15 and the reduced fare to €11. Meet Vincent Van Gogh also offers tickets for families of 4 people (maximum of 2 adults) at €29.50 or €36, respectively, and for groups with more than 10 people, where the price per person is fixed at €9 or €10, respectively.
Although there’s a ticket office on-site, it’s always advisable to purchase tickets in advance. You can do it on the Ticketine website (Meet Vincent Van Gogh‘s official online ticket office) or in physical stores like Fnac, Worten, or El Corte Inglés.
It’s important to note that the admission price includes a free audio guide, available in a children’s version (from 4 to 12 years old) and an adult version. Available languages include Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Korean.
2. Plan a Whole Day in Belém
Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon is open every day, except on Mondays and Tuesdays. From Wednesday to Friday, it operates from 10 am to 7 pm, with the last entry taking place at 6 pm. As for weekends, it’s only open in the morning (from 9 am to 1 pm), with the last entry at 12 pm.
Since Belém has such a rich heritage when it comes to museums, palaces, and other monuments, why not dedicate an entire day to getting to know this historic area? For example, in the vicinity of Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon, you can visit:
- Belém Cultural Center (and the Berardo Collection Museum)
- Calouste Gulbenkian Planetarium
- Jerónimos Monastery (and the National Archaeology Museum and Navy Museum)
- MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
- Monument to the Discoveries
- Museum of Popular Art
- National Coach Museum
- National Palace of Belém (and the Museum of the Presidency of the Republic)
- Pastéis de Belém House
- Tower of Belém
- Tropical Botanical Garden (belonging to the National Museum of Natural History and Science)
3. Don’t Forget Your Camera!
One of the most curious things about Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon is its motto “Please, do touch!”. I mean, it’s certain and known that museums never let us touch the works on display, nor photograph them with flash. But this is something that doesn’t happen in this experience.
In Meet Vincent Van Gogh in Lisbon, visitors are actually invited to touch and experience the environment that surrounds them. Even taking pictures (with flash, if necessary) or selfies! Above all, the purpose of this exhibition is to make Vincent Van Gogh‘s art accessible to as many people as possible.
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