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Van Gogh in the Borinage. The birth of an artist

from 25 january to 17 may

During his life in the Borinage, from December 1878 to October 1880, Vincent van Gogh renounced his career as an evangelist and decided to become an artist. The exhibition will take you through the discovery of this period in particular, which had a profound impact on the painter, because during his time in the mining area, he developed the artistic ideas that largely constituted the framework for his oeuvre. With some seventy paintings, drawings and letters by Van Gogh, the exhibition will offer a broad spectrum of his different inspirations, also including over twenty works that the artist copied or which influenced his work. This will not merely be a presentation of an insight into the early stages of his artistic career, but also the construction of a portrait of the living conditions in the Borinage at the time of the painter.

Amongst the works created at the time, generally copies inspired by engravings sketches by other artists, few have been preserved. The value of the first months of Van Gogh’s artistic career, which were decisive for the entirety of his oeuvre, does not lie so much in his output at the time, but in the direction he took at that point: more personal, focused on themes to which he was to remain loyal throughout his career. Thus, the daily reality of the lives of the workers and peasants never ceased to fascinate him and these themes, which he was already pursuing when he was staying in this region, are like an echo that resonates in his later work: simple workers (minors, peasants, weavers), and the modest homes in which they lived.

A production by the Mons 2015 Foundation and by the Museum cluster of the city of Mons, in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum.

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