AMSTERDAM — In the summer of 1888, Vincent van Gogh invited his friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin to visit him in Arles, France, and to stay with him at the house where he hoped to establish an artists’ retreat. When Gauguin arrived in the fall, he found his room decorated with Van Gogh’s artworks, including a painting of sunflowers arranged in a ceramic vase against a yellow background.
The two-month visit ended disastrously. The two artists had a blowout fight, and van Gogh sliced off his ear, suffered a mental breakdown and ended up in the hospital. Gauguin fled back to Paris.
A couple of weeks later, however, he wrote to van Gogh requesting that painting, “Sunflowers,” praising it as “a perfect page of an essential ‘Vincent’ style.”
Understandably, van Gogh was reluctant to hand over what he felt might be his most accomplished work, and so he decided to paint another version of the yellow “Sunflowers” to exchange with a work by Gauguin. He completed that one in January 1889, but never sent it.
These two paintings, both called “Sunflowers,” are generally accepted as the finest of several depictions of the thick-stemmed, nodding blooms that van Gogh made in 1888 and 1889 during his time in Arles. The first is now in the collection of the National Gallery in London, and the second is in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Van Gogh referred to this work as a “repetition” of the London painting. But art historians and curators have long been curious to know how different this “repetition” is from the first. Should it be considered a copy, an independent artwork or something in between?
An extensive research project conducted over the past three years by conservation experts at both the National Gallery and the Van Gogh Museum has concluded that the second painting was “not intended as an exact copy of the original example,” said Ella Hendriks, a professor of conservation and restoration at the University of Amsterdam, who was the lead researcher on the project.
“Though the basic palette is the same, there were different colors that were used, differences in paint texturing, and his brushwork is different,” she said.
dog High Coo
(Basho, please forgive me)
Ain’t life grand sometimes,
paws to the air, belly to sun, it
won’t last but so what.
thank you Edgar Boyles
What part of this story is more pathetic: That a Colorado newspaper published an op-ed from the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party praising Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner for his “most bipartisan and effective” representation of even state Democrats and independents, or that Gardner approvingly tweeted out the gaslighting effort?
Climate change is “eating” the glaciers of the Himalayas, posing a grave threat to hundreds of millions of people who live downstream, a study based on 40 years of satellite data has shown.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, concluded that the glaciers have lost a foot and a half of ice every year since 2000, melting at a far faster pace than in the previous 25-year period. In recent years, the glaciers have lost about eight billion tons of water a year. The study’s authors described it as equivalent to the amount of water held by 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools.
The study adds to a growing and grim body of work that points to the dangers of global warming for the Himalayas, which are considered the water towers of Asia and an insurance policy against drought.
In February, a report produced by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development warned that the Himalayas could lose up to a third of their ice by the end of the century, even if the world can fulfill its most ambitious goal of keeping global average temperatures from rising only 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels.
That goal, which scientists have identified as vital to avert catastrophic heat waves and other extreme weather events, is nowhere close to being met. Average global temperatures have risen by one degree already in the last 150 years. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb. And scientists estimate that we are on track to raise the average global temperature between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
Another study, published in May in Nature, found that Himalayan glaciers are melting faster in summer than they are being replenished by snow in winter. In the warm seasons, meltwater from the mountains feeds rivers that provide drinking water and irrigation for crops.
The retreat of glaciers is one of the most glaring consequences of rising global temperatures. Around the world, vanishing glaciers will mean less water for people, livestock and crops.