Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ staying put in Amsterdam museum

Renovator Rene Boitelle works on a restoration of Van Gogh's painting "Sunflowers" at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. (Reuters)
Updated 24 January 2019

Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ staying put in Amsterdam museum

AMSTERDAM: A "full body scan" carried out on the Van Gogh Museum's version of the Dutch master's iconic "Sunflowers" has shown the painting is not fit to travel because it's in "stable but vulnerable" condition, the museum's director said Thursday.
"We've decided that any stresses that the picture could be subjected to, was it to travel, was (it) to be lent, that those might be too risky," director Axel Rueger told The Associated Press in the studio where the painting is undergoing restoration. "Therefore, we decided that from now on we will not be able to lend the picture anymore to other exhibitions to other museums — so it will always stay in Amsterdam."
For Van Gogh fans who can't make it to Amsterdam, the predominantly yellow 1889 painting of a bunch of sunflowers in a vase is based on another version of the work painted a year earlier that is on display at London's National Gallery. Other versions of the work are in Philadelphia, Tokyo, and Munich.
The painting in Amsterdam is hardly a frequent flyer — it has only been loaned out six times, the last time to the National Gallery so it could hang next to that London museum's version.
Ella Hendriks, who worked on the current restoration project, said the painting underwent a series of tests she likened to a "full body scan" on a human patient. The tests used precision imaging machines to peer through the surface and decide what could and could not be done to the painting.
One test, usually used to examine retinas, gave a crucial insight by creating a "virtual cross-section" of layers of paint and varnish.
"We can see ... that the paint layer is mixed in together with the varnish layer so there's not a clear division between them," Hendriks said.
That discovery has limited the amount of work restorer Rene Boitelle can carry out. He will remove some patches of beeswax that was applied after Van Gogh finished the work and have now gone a milky white color, and will use special paint to rework some previous restorations to make them less visible.
To return the painting to its original state would involve removing the varnish, which Van Gogh did not apply to the painting. Also, some previous restorations are under the varnish and can't be treated.
"That varnish cannot be removed safely - at least not with the methods and materials available to us now," Boitelle said. "I can remove the wax but the retouchings are there to stay - at least for now."
The painting will go back on display at the museum Feb. 22 and an exhibition about the research and restoration will open in June.
That means Boitelle has just a few more weeks to incredibly carefully spruce up one of the world's most recognizable artworks.
"It's quite exciting, obviously, but I try not to be too aware and too conscious of all the myths and the iconic value that the painting has," he said. "After all it's still just a painting like so many we've treated here in this studio and I'll treat it with the same dedication and seriousness and concentration as I would treat any other painting that is not iconic."

Celebrities, influencers call for justice over black man’s death in US

Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik said: ‘Their (the police) job is not to kill. It has to change.’ (AFP)
Updated 28 May 2020

Celebrities, influencers call for justice over black man’s death in US

DUBAI: Celebrities and influencers around the world have taken to social media to protest against the actions of four US police officers that allegedly led to the death of a black male suspect.

A video, circulated online, showed an unidentified officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and ignoring his pleas of “please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man.”

Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the incident took place, later said that Floyd matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case and had resisted arrest. All four officers have been fired.

Part-Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid shared a picture of Floyd on Instagram and said: “This has got to stop. It’s hard to watch a video so foul. It’s hard to think that this is still happening, but it is reality.

“These police officers need to be accountable to the maximum degree for their obviously disgusting and horrific actions. I feel so sick, sad, and sorry for George Floyd and his family.”

Her sister, Gigi Hadid, also spoke up about the viral video on her Instagram account. “This is why it is more disheartening and nauseating every time. And not just black men – every senseless act of discrimination that burdens this country,” she wrote to her 54.2 million followers.

Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik said: “We should all feel protected and know we can be safe. Their (the police) job is not to kill. It has to change.”

Below are more reactions from famous stars addressing Floyd’s death.



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