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Van Gogh's "Interior of a Restaurant" was painted in 1887.

Van Gogh's "Interior of a Restaurant" was painted in 1887. (Courtesy of The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)

Van Gogh's "Interior of a Restaurant" was painted in 1887.

Van Gogh's "Interior of a Restaurant" was painted in 1887. (Courtesy of The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)

Van Gogh painted "The Drawbridge" in 1888. The painting is included in an exhibition of Van Gogh's life and works at Vicenza's municipal art museum.

Van Gogh painted "The Drawbridge" in 1888. The painting is included in an exhibition of Van Gogh's life and works at Vicenza's municipal art museum. (Courtesy Rheinisches Bildarchiv)

Vincent Van Gogh's "The Lover (portrait of Lieutenant Milliet)" was painted in 1888. On loan from The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

Vincent Van Gogh's "The Lover (portrait of Lieutenant Milliet)" was painted in 1888. On loan from The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands. (Courtesy of The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)

Van Gogh painted "Olive Trees" in 1889.

Van Gogh painted "Olive Trees" in 1889. (Courtesy Antonia Reeve)

Van Gogh's "Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity's Gate)" was completed  in1890, shortly before his death.

Van Gogh's "Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity's Gate)" was completed in1890, shortly before his death. (Courtesy of The Kroeller-Mueller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands)

Van Gogh drew "The Sower" in 1882. The drawing is included in an exhibition of Van Gogh's life and works at Vicenza's municipal art museum.

Van Gogh drew "The Sower" in 1882. The drawing is included in an exhibition of Van Gogh's life and works at Vicenza's municipal art museum. (Courtesy Margareta Svensson)

Madonnas, Last Suppers, and John the Baptists by Renaissance artists like Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are a dime a dozen in Italy, in museums and churches all over the country.

But to see a collection of wheat fields, sunflowers, self-portraits and starry nights of the tortured Expressionist genius Vincent Van Gogh, you generally have to travel north to the Netherlands.

Now Vicenza’s municipal museum changes that, with an exhibition that charts Van Gogh’s life and art before taking his life in France in 1890 at age 37.

“Van Gogh, Between the Wheat and the Sky” contains 43 paintings and 86 drawings, many on loan from the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in Holland, as well as letters Van Gogh wrote, many of them to his brother Theo.

The exhibit aims to artistically reconstruct Van Gogh’s biography, to allow viewers “into the laboratory of Van Gogh’s spirit, into that secret place, known only to him, where his images were formed” and to “trace the shortest and most tormented story in the entire history of art.”

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low,” he wrote to Theo in 1882.

“All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion.”

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com

‘Van Gogh: Between the Wheat and the Sky’ DIRECTIONS

On display at Vicenza’s municipal museum, in the Basilica Palladiana, in the city’s Piazza dei Signori.

TIMES

The exhibit runs through April 8. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

COSTS

14 euros (about $16.30) for adults; 8 euros for ages 6 to 17; free for children under 6.

FOOD

There are scores of bars, cafes and restaurants close by.

NOTES

There are no English translations present in the curation, but English-language audioguides are available for an extra fee. A film at the end of the exhibit is in Italian.

INFORMATION

Phone (+39) 0442429999.

Website: There is an English link at www.lineadombra.it.

author picture
Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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