Today the Van Gogh Museum is launching the app Touch Van Gogh, which allows users to examine paintings by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) in close detail. Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, explains, ‘With this app, people from all over the world can, free of charge and at home, discover the secrets of Van Gogh’s painting techniques and learn more about his working methods.’ The app, designed for tablets, uses multi-touch features that make it easy and entertaining to explore the information concealed in and under the paint. For example, you can remove the old layer of varnish from Van Gogh’s painting The bedroom, see for yourself that the painting Daubigny’s garden was painted on a tea towel, and virtually rub away the top layer of paint from View from Theo’s apartment to discover how Van Gogh reused his canvases. Over the next two years, the Van Gogh Museum will regularly add new works to Touch Van Gogh. This English-language app (iOS 6 and Android) can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.
Discover for yourself
The tablet’s multi-touch controls make it easy for users to go exploring in an intuitive way. Like a detective, the user can unravel the mysteries of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings at your own pace, gradually learning more about the life and work of this famous artist. Through the app people discover how a painting looked before restoration, exactly where it was painted, where the paint has become discoloured, and how the composition is constructed.
Making research accessible
For the Van Gogh Museum, Touch Van Gogh is a tool for making the results of complex technical research into Van Gogh’s working methods accessible to a broad public in an appealing way. This research was made possible in part by the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the museum’s Partner in Science Shell Nederland. The app is available in the exhibition Van Gogh at work, which will run until 12 January 2014. In this anniversary exhibition, visitors can see and experience how Van Gogh developed, through ten years of working and learning, into a unique artist with an astounding oeuvre.