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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why we travel....

 Butterflies and poppies, 1889

 Roses, 1890

 Emperor moth, 1889

 Blossoming almond tree, 1890

The Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige), 1887

Are you reminded of anyone?  A famous painter perhaps?  One we have paid homage to before on this blog?  Amsterdam is the home of the Van Gogh Museum, caretaker to many of this famous artist's paintings and sketches.  I'm sure there are readers of this blog who know far more about Van Gogh than myself but, when confronted with the entire oeuvre of this mad genius, I was moved by a side of him I had never seen before, namely paintings influenced by his fascination with Japanese art and culture.

Van Gogh never traveled in the East (unlike his pal Gauguin who eventually made it all the way to the western Pacific) but he was inspired by the beauty and simplicity of the Japanese aesthetic and incorporated those influences in obvious ways in his paintings over a short period in the late 1880s.  Looking at these paintings I reflected on how this blog, a continuing mish-mash of travel and art, is propelled by that same spirit of finding inspiration in the unbelievably diverse cultures of our world.