Van Gogh in the digital age

Van GoghDigital Van Gogh

At the top is Van Gogh’s painting, The Bedroom, from 1888 as we know it today and as it exists today.  But the blue of the walls has faded over the years, and the red he mixed with blue has gone.  The image below (with the lavender walls) shows Van Gogh’s painting digitally enhanced according to what conservators and art historians have learned about his painting techniques.  Read more about this project here.

10 thoughts on “Van Gogh in the digital age

  1. Negeen (Nicole)

    This piece reminds me of when I did an in-depth study on Van Gogh in our senior IB Art II class–I always wanted to study him as a child because my mother took me to the famous Art galleries in D.C. with his work, of course, always presented! I think that this painting is a more prominent example of perspective and I feel like the blue on the wall as mentioned mixed with the drastic red and orange-gold from the bed makes the room’s contents stand out.

  2. Elisa Tedesco

    As a Historic Preservation major I find this article very interesting! I think it’s sad how they were not able to preserve the colors properly and the walls did not remain that striking purple color. Colors fade through time, and in the time period Van Gogh painted this there was no thinking about what the colors will look like in the future. I just think it’s fascinating how well we preserve things today based on the future but in the past they weren’t as concerned about it. I also thought the comment on Van Gogh’s emotions was great; the bluer the color was, the more depressed he was. His personality is shown through his paintings, and it’s important that we try to preserve and protect that through the years.

  3. mathieu wetmore

    Growing up in nova, my art teachers always loved taking my classes to the Nat. Gallery of Art and I have always enjoyed Van Gogh’s work, simply because his work was so much different and “crazer” some might say, than other famous Artists; I guess you could say his creativity intrigued me. Furthermore, I was happy that the world will now be able to appreciate it as van gogh intended. Like the article says, “You discover more clearly that van Gogh was a very methodical artist, which runs counter to the general myth that he was a manic…”

  4. Jessica Rolaf

    The contrasting colors of the subjects in this piece really contribute to the vibrancy of the work. Even though the digital technology wasn’t able to fully replicate the colors that were originally used by Van Gogh, I think it is neat that there is a method to enhance the colors of an older piece to maintain the artist’s technique and purpose. I’m sure Van Gogh, or any artist of that matter, would rather have some enhancement of their own piece maintained that was made years ago rather than allow for the work to completely loose the message and color.

  5. Lillian Bumstead

    This article was really interesting to read. I had never really taken the time to realize that pigments are not/have not always been stable. Looking at Van Gogh’s work is going to be a whole new experience now. I also look forward to seeing what other paintings have also been effected by disappearing pigments.

  6. Remy Marcus

    I think it’s really interesting how differently we see paintings now as opposed to how they looked when they were first painted. Our entire view of how we interpret the painting could be changed because of changing pigmentation of the colors. This is really actually quite sad because we cant see the painting as the artist wanted us to see it .

  7. Holly Bliss

    I once watched a documentary on Van Gogh and his group of friends/fellow painters. I found it very interesting and I’m glad this article isn’t trying to change what we know of his psychology. Even today, Red is the hardest color to maintain over time. It would be very interesting if we found out this applied to others artists as well. Perhaps there was really Violet period for Picasso. I would like to see more information about the science behind their determination.

  8. Cody Nester

    Advancements in science has really come a long way in helping us look back at old art the way it was supposed to look. It helps to understand the art better, the room is much darker then it appears now, which is important in understanding Van Gogh as the quote in the article says, his art was supposed to be how he sees the world. Seeing how it looked in it this original form is critical in seeing it in the way he desired us to view the work.

  9. Maggie O'Connor

    It is fascinating that people are able to study colors and technique which allows them to know the original image. It is always impressive what these preservationist are able to save such beautiful works of art. This article is cool because recently I was able to watch a women apply glue to paintings from Thailand which would help preserve the paintings. It made me appreciate the art more. Eventually all things deteriorate ,but as people we should try our best to save and learn for the humans who have lived before us.

  10. Brianna Stumpf

    I find it amazing that people are able to determine original pigments of artwork. I am having trouble deciding whether I like the violet walls or blue walls. Thinking about how certain pigments faded, it makes me wonder how many other art works were affected in this way. I really liked Van Gogh’s way of viewing his art work. Although it must suck never being satisfied with your artwork, his overall goal was a great one. I think it is interesting that whoever wrote the article was viewing pigments, colors, and mental health all together.


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