Although there have been other Web-based presentations of van Gogh's letters that are more comprehensive (for example, van Gogh's Letters, Unabridged and Annotated, mentioned in the Sept. 24, 2004 Scout Report http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2004/scout-040924-geninterest.php#2), this set of seven letters between van Gogh and his young colleague, Emile Bernard, presented by the Pierpont Morgan Library, is designed to allow the viewer to get the full visual impact of the letters themselves. Beginning with a thumbnail view of a handwritten letter, one can choose to translate the text, and read, for example, van Gogh critiquing several sonnets his young friend has sent, asking which Albrecht Durer drawing was a poem's inspiration, and concluding, "But all in all it's not as good as your painting yet. Never mind. It'll come, and you must certainly continue doing sonnets." It is also possible to zoom in on the many drawings that decorate the letters, such as Still life with coffee pot, on the back of a letter van Gogh sent to Bernard in June of 1888. Zooming in on another letter from March 18, 1888, decorated with a sketch of people walking on a footpath near a canal, reveals the color words that van Gogh has written on the picture, indicating that the water will be green, the shaded side of a bridge, purple, and the sky, yellow.


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