On the map: Children’s atlas traces the life of Vincent van Gogh

The new children’s atlas on Vincent Van Gogh Photo: S Boztas

Seeing Van Gogh through the eyes of a child is a lesson for all of us: that was the message behind the launch of a junior ‘atlas’ explaining the artist’s life and travels.

“This book follows the story of Van Gogh like an atlas and tells his life story in an entertaining way,” said Emilie Gordenker, Director of the Van Gogh Museum at the book launch in Amsterdam.

“Telling his story in this way means that you might find yourself in his story: sometimes he was having a hard time and sometimes he was really good. Even if you know a lot about art, you can learn from a story told [a child’s] Perspective,” she told a class of children from Group 7 at Het Bovenland primary school on Wednesday.

With illustrations by artist Geert Gratama, photographs, letters and detailed maps, The Vincent van Gogh Atlas Junior Edition plans June 19thth Century artist life and works in addition to his numerous moves. It begins in 1853 in the village of Zundert in North Brabant and takes him through 19 different locations in the Netherlands, England, Belgium and France, where he died in 1890 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It traces his career through his 800 letters, mainly to his brother Theo, 850 paintings and 1300 sketches that have survived. Van Gogh’s travels have been taken by boat, steam train and also on foot – including one mishap where he walked for miles to show his work to a famous artist, but when he got to his door he became nervous and set off again home.

An adult version of the atlas was created in 2015 and this – published in Dutch and English – is aimed at children aged nine and over.

Book presentation with group 7 of primary school Het Bovenland Photo: Floor Minnaert

René van Blerk, senior educator at the Van Gogh Museum, who co-wrote the book with author and journalist Nienke Denekamp, ​​said Van Gogh was an inspiration. “I think we have a wonderful story about a really extraordinary man,” he said.

“He was someone who searched for what he wanted to be, who kept searching and kept the faith. Maybe you don’t know what you want to be and neither does he, but he found it. He was so confident that what he was doing was good that he kept going even when people didn’t appreciate it at all. That is an extraordinary message conveyed by the book.”

“Vincent was unusual at a time when everyone was so used to painting a certain way, a way everyone liked. He did it his way, in a completely different way: he saw what all other painters do, he made it his own, but he made his own art. This is extraordinary and influenced other painters after him.”

The book, printed by Uitgeverij Rubinstein and with a subsidy from the Nederlands Letterenfonds, was launched with a special cake. The first copy was given to the class of 10 and 11 year olds from Amsterdam.

“Unlike a piece of cake,” Gordenker assured them, “it can never be eaten and you can read it over and over again.”

Thank you for your donation to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have donated over the last few weeks. Your financial support has helped us extend our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and keep you up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial support of our readers we wouldn’t be able to bring you fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you haven’t donated yet, you’re welcome You can do this via Ideal, Credit Card or Paypal.

Leave a Comment