Too Much Van Gogh

We all love Van Gogh, right? Well here’s a strange way to connect painting to digital media. An Amsterdam museum is staging a show of digitally-retouched and animated Van Gogh paintings. It is being called Van Gogh’s “Ultimate Collection,” meant to surpass the quality of the original paintings.

Here’s one of the “animations”

This is part of the gallery


And some comparisons of the original (left) and digital (right)



“Van Gogh, The Ultimate Collection displays the 200 most important works of Vincent van Gogh. All these works are re-created. In addition, the exhibition includes seven unique 3D animations. This three-dimensional exploration reveals the movement, composition and hidden details in his paintings. You’ll see his works in a new and different way as well and will get a glimpse into the artistic mind of Vincent van Gogh.”

I’m not sure I’m sold quite yet. Any thoughts?

(Embedded images from, featured image and quotation from


5 thoughts on “Too Much Van Gogh

  1. To call something like this “Van Gogh’s ‘Ultimate Collection'” is, to me, a little selfish for the artist(s) of these works to say. While I agree that the recreations are unique, and impressive in a sense that they are able to take the viewer into a more interactive experience with Van Gogh’s work, they are one artist’s interpretations of Van Gogh’s pieces.

    To say that they are better than the originals themselves is interesting to me, to say the least—Van Gogh’s works were meant to be experienced the way that he brought them, and were incredibly his, as any artist would want for themselves. To add these effects and animations to them makes me experience them totally differently, and though I am not opposed to the more illustrative take on those pieces, to say they surpass the quality of the originals is not quite how I would describe it. Rather, I would describe it as what it is: an interpretation, pieces meant to give others a similar experience as they had whilst looking at Van Gogh’s work.

    Both versions of the art are unique to themselves, neither being ‘better’ than the other—simply bringing something new to the table, similar visuals with distinctive concepts.

  2. One thing that came through my mind while reading this article was “Is there really Too Much Van Gogh?” I mean one thing is that as every year passes artists works are reproduced in so many different ways that every year you’ll find a new exhibition or collection. I do agree that calling something “Ultimate” is like making something better than it was. I hate when actual singers do that when they release and ultimate collection of their actual songs. – Why don’t you just make a new album…. your not dead yet…

  3. To follow up on my comment below. I thought it was an interesting idea that they placed the animations in that collection (exhibit). its something new to bring to the table and people have always wondered how these actual portraits, and landscapes would look if they were actually moving. Its an abstract form and makes it unique to the uncreative eye. Like the author wrote, people get high to go and look at the Van Gogh’s. (or you can actually go to the places where he painted these landscapes).

    Lastly they mentioned that people will continue to go see the originals, and that is correct. No matter what you do to the collection enhance, recreate it, or even destroy them. As humans we want to see the original, it makes us feel content that we saw the actual live thing. And for the Too Much Van Gogh… I can say that about any POPULAR Artists… their work is constantly being recreated .. thats how pop culture works.

  4. Let me just start off by saying Van Gogh is by far my favorite and most influential artist (of any time period).
    That being said, this exhibit looks like a horribly sophmoric take on his masterpieces. I would personally go as far as to say it is offensive to say that his works needed anything more than what they were.
    I will admit hearing the idea I thought ” this could be interesting”. Immediately after seeing the video above and reading the article I changed my mind. The adaptions to make the paintings continually moving as videos and so on is a trivial modification that does not enchance his paintings in any sense of the word. If someone takes the time to really sit in front of an original Van Gogh and appreciate it, the painting moves you can feel the strokes.
    Immpressionism is a specific style that seperates small amounts of color and places them next to each other. When one stands back the colors mix together in a process known as “optical mixing”. The viewers eyes mix the colors together and they go in an out of this mixed state giving the beautiful undulations of color in ones vision. This in itself is a beautiful process/ style and many painters have mastered this style in their own right. But Van Gogh pushs this concept even further in what I think is the most breathtaking format of impressionism. Instead of using variations of dots of color like most impressionists, Van Gogh incorporates these beautiful strokes of color that give an even greater sense of movement to the already full of life painting. That is why I find this concept of making a moving version of his work absurd. Of all styles of painting impressionism has this movement and life to it already, and on top of that you choose Van Gogh, argueabley the most successful of all the impressionist painters to show movement and life. And to add insult to injury it is marketed as how Van Gogh intended his paintings to be? Surpassing the original?
    This is truley a gross display of hubris and being unappreciative of something that is truely great.
    Despite all this ranting , I will say the idea of remastering the originals with newer versions compensating for degradation is a wonderful concept. Sadly from how the article reads, it seems even the remastering was done with shotty work. It amazes me that physicallity and 3 dimensionality was not taken into account during the so called “remastering” process.
    I can not speak for or against the 3D versions of the prints because I have not been able to experience them. But it all goes into the same categorey with the video versions of the paintings. It seems vaguely interesting and it may be a cheap momentary pleasure, but it is not and never will be even close to the level of beauty that the original pieces portray.
    Van Gogh is not a modern installation artist, he was an impressionist painter. We should not be trying to brazenly proclaim that we are making something better than what he could, when in reality this “improved” pieces are barely passable as something for a college kid to hang on his wall and look at while he gets stoned.

    Its an insult, not an improvement

  5. I am not sure the goal of this exhibit, “To surpass the qualities of the original paintings,” is the right mindset for this Amsterdam museum show. Re-working and adapting past works to create another art piece in itself is an engaging process, and can have successful results. Simply enhancing Van Gogh’s paintings with our modern digital tools takes away from the original work. Van Gogh’s pieces serve as an example of not only his vision but also what he was able to create with the technology available in the nineteenth century. This new show seems like more of a retelling of Van Gogh’s vision with the digital tools modern artists use. All the pictures of the exhibit show that the digitally enhanced paintings increased the light quality in the originals. Although it was interesting to see that attached animation, I can not help but to connect this to the, “Living Classics Pageant,” from Arrested Development, where actual people pose as figures in Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.

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