Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Video: Vincent van Gogh at the Musée d'Orsay

Following yesterday's post about the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, today I'm highlighting my video of the room containing 18 Van Gogh paintings in the Musée d'Orsay (usual YouTube /
watch in HD).

Self-Portrait (1889) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
H. 65; W. 54.5 cm, Oil on canvas

photo coyright Katherine Tyrrell

Like Rembrandt and Goya, Vincent van Gogh often used himself as a model; he produced over forty-three self-portraits, paintings or drawings in ten years.
It's certainly an experience to be in a room with quite so many Van Goghs. You'll note from the video that it's very crowded. However, that's what all the rooms are like on the top floor where the late nineteenth century and Impressionist paintings are displayed. However people always like to linger in the Van Gogh room.......

Some of the more important paintings by Vincent Van Gogh which can seen in the video are listed below. The museum highlights and explains these paintings on its website. The hyperlink is to the page where you can read more about that painting.
Thatched Cottages at Cordeville, Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
H. 73; W. 92 cm, Oil on canvas
photo coyright Katherine Tyrrell

Visiting the Musée d'Orsay: If you want to see the paintings in the Musée d'Orsay with rather fewer people, try and visit very early, very late or during lunchtime. I guess there must be a 'less popular' day for visitors but I don't have a clue as to which it is. (Does anybody else know?) We were visiting the day after it had been closed for a day (which happens every week - on Mondays) and I rather suspect Tuesday might be a busy day.

You should also note that queues for tickets can be long in the middle of the day.

More information: you can find out more about the museum or Vincent Van Gogh by clicking on the links to videos and information below.

Note: This video is shakier than I would have liked. I'm going to have to practice shooting videos while walking in a very crowded room where I'm trying to focus on the paintings and avoid getting in people's faces or having their faces on the video. Any tips?


Paris Art Museums - my other videos on YouTube
More information can be found on this blog and in my information sites:
Making a Mark reviews...... Travels with a Sketchbook in.......


  1. I'm surprised that you are allowed to video or photo in the gallery.

    Personally I think it is wrong. Also very noticeable is the very short period of time each person took to look at each painting. Just seconds and then on to another one. How anyone can really appreciate a painting with just a glance is beyond me.

  2. Why should you not be allowed?

    All these paintings are well out of copyright. It's a national museum and hence the public own the paintings.

    What's copyrighted on the museum website and my blog is the PHOTOGRAPH of the art.

    What they don't allow is any commercial photography (eg no tripods. no filming for commercial reasons). So they don't lose out on an income stream.

    On the other hand when people see the paintings on YouTube they might start to think that they'd really rather like to visit Paris so they can see them in person....

    It's what I'd call a win win situation and very enligtened.

  3. Hi Katherine,
    The Musee d'Orsay is a must see for me every time I visit Paris!The museum is open on Thursday evenings, and I've found it to be less crowded at this time.

    Interesting remarks about photography. I always assumed that the reason museums didn't want photography was because of possible damage from camera lights and flash. That and they wanted people to buy their own Van Gogh swag--posters, postcards and such.

  4. I recommend going on the days the museum is open late. This is great for the Louvre, too. Also, the Museum Pass is a must to miss the long entrance lines when it's busy.

  5. The museum card is great - but potentially very expensive - for short-circuiting the queues for tickets but doesn't work quite so well for the queue to be frisked by the security people! :)

  6. I remember the first time I saw Van Gogh at the Musee d'Orsay - I cried. And I bet I'm not the only one.

    I do enjoy the sense of sharing that comes with these videos, Katherine. And am amazed that the authorities permit it but it is refreshing that they do.

  7. I very much appreciated the video that you took, and am also surprised that they allowed cameras.

    I went to a Dutch Masters show at the Vancouver Art Gallery in September, and knew in advance that cameras were not allowed. they had several mean looking security people on hand to make sure that no photos were taken. So Sad I think.

    I was able to get 3 inches away up close to a Rembrandt, and view an original for the first time in my life, and it was a breathtaking experience.

  8. At the Art Institute of Chicago there are many great masterpieces: Monet, Renoir, VanGogh....it goes on and on. The only requirement they make is no flash photography. Otherwise, the patrons may take photographs.

    Thanks for showing us these wonderful works, Katherine!

  9. I was pretty much asleep to art until I saw that Vincent 1889 self portrait at the Musee D'Orsay in 1996. It totally blew me away - looked like a real living person in a frame. Thanks for bringing back a very happy memory.


  10. Van Gogh's work continues to amaze into its second century, and almost any of his paintings are worth looking at very closely for the amount of detail he could pack into a tiny space (like an eye), while remaining fluid and controlled. Some years ago I painted my own homage to Vincent - or rather two Vincents, plus a third not the painter kind - which has always provoked considerable amusement whenever shown. Maybe take a look: http://www.charleslewisart.com/fine-art/visions-1/visions-02.htm

    Keep up the great work, Katherine.

    Charles Lewis (charleslewisart.com)


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