Posted in Art, Paintings

Five Ways of Seeing Van Gogh’s Irises


3. Alone

With a little luck and an early arrival to the museum, you just might be able to enjoy Irises alone. If you arrive right at 10 a.m. when the museum opens, the quiet gallery provides a perfect backdrop to really examine the painting. Solitude and seclusion gives the gallery a sense of intimacy that makes it one of my favorite ways to see it.

4. Multiple Times

Detail of IrisesDuring my observations I noticed people often came back to see the painting multiple times in one day. I wonder if it’s due to its emotional complexity. One visitor felt the painting is filled with melancholy and sadness, pointing out Van Gogh’s stay in an asylum and the lone, white flower in the midst of the vibrant, purple irises. On the opposite end of the spectrum, another viewer felt the painting is full of joy, pointing out how vibrant the colors were, and how they manage to rise out of the seemingly dry, brown dirt.

5. Internationally

Visitors from all across the world viewed this famous Van Gogh. In just one hour I heard multiple languages—French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, German, and more. Irises seems to rise above cultural boundaries—a Dutch painting inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints—to strike an emotional resonance amongst all viewers. DH0A5398 One of the great things about art is how we all bring our own perspectives to it. How

Many ways to see a Van Gogh. More»

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Posted in Architecture and Design, Art, Paintings

Name Those Irises (and Win a Book from Getty Publications)

Eyes (detail) - can you guess the artist?

When we set out to design this blog, we looked at irises—lots of them. We asked curators and members of the blog team to pick favorite irises, both literal and metaphorical. There were camera irises, like those in the cache… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Paintings

Getty Up! Welcome to the Getty’s New Blog

Irises, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

The Iris is a reference to the Getty Museum’s best-known painting: Irises by Vincent van Gogh. That painting is surrounded by knots of visitors most of the time; it’s behind glass because so many people want to reach out and… More»

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