The Italian Almanac

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a portrait by Gauguin

Italian News / Art - October 31

An outstanding exhibition in the northern Italian town of Brescia offers the public a unique opportunity to compare and admire the art of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. The quantity and quality of the material on show is such that organizers have described it as "certainly one of the most beautiful and complete exhibitions of masterpieces and emotions to have ever taken place in Italy."

Some 150 works by the two postimpressionist giants - 100 paintings and 50 drawings, sketches and other pieces on paper - have been borrowed from top international museums and galleries for the occasion. Many of the paintings have never been shown in Italy before. Both of these revolutionary, tragic artists' careers are covered from start to finish at Gauguin Van Gogh - L'Avventura del Colore Nuovo (Gauguin Van Gogh - The New Color Adventure).

For most visitors, the highlight of the exhibition will be the section devoted to the two months the artists spent together in Arles. Van Gogh, who had a great desire for companionship and dreamt of founding a brotherhood of artists, invited Gauguin to join him in the southern French town in 1888.

But the two were very different characters - Van Gogh was modest and unstable, Gauguin proud and ambitious - and the experience ended with Van Gogh attacking Gauguin in a fit of the madness that eventually drove him to suicide in July 1890. Nevertheless, the spell was a highly productive one and Van Gogh's ability to express his emotions through use of color was reinforced by it.