The exact location where Dutch master Vincent van Gogh painted his last work has been identified after being hidden in plain view for years among a tangle of roots next to a rural lane near Paris.
The discovery by Wouter van der Veen, scientific director of the Van Gogh Institute in France, provides a new glimpse of the artist in his final hours.
Experts say the discovery sheds new light on the anguished painter's mental state on the day he is widely believed to have fatally shot himself.
“Tree Roots,” was visible on a faded picture postcard featuring a man standing next to a bicycle on a back street of the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, 35 kilometers (21 miles) north of Paris.
Van Gogh spent the last weeks of his life in the village and completed dozens of paintings there. Helpfully, the card even included the name of the street.
It means art historians can now see that Van Gogh worked on the painting until the end of the afternoon, meaning he spent much of the day concentrating on the canvas.
“There has been a lot of speculation about his state of mind, but one thing that is very clear is that he spent quite a bit longer working on this painting right through the afternoon. We know that from the light fall in the work,” Emilie Gordenker, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “So, you know, he really was at work right up to the end.”
The painting, which is not considered to have been completed by Van Gogh, hangs in the Amsterdam museum. Gordenker said its composition and execution — a tight focus on gnarled roots on a hillside — have led to it being seen as a “harbinger of abstraction.”
Van Gogh never got to further develop the painting style.
According to the museum’s version of Van Gogh’s life, after working on “Tree Roots” the artist walked into a nearby field of wheat later in the day and shot himself in the chest with a pistol.
He died two days later, on July 29, 1890, aged 37. Two American authors cast doubt on the theory in 2011, suggesting the artist was shot by two teenage boys.
Van der Veen believes the museum's version of events and agrees his new discovery shows that Van Gogh had his wits about him and was methodical in his thinking before he pulled the trigger to kill himself.
“So the final steps were also something he carefully thought about," he said. "So it was a lucid decision. It was not a fit of madness.”
The new discovery was made, in part, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While stuck at home during France's two-month lockdown, Van der Veen used the extra time to organize his numerous files and documents on Van Gogh, including digitizing images such as the old postcard from Auvers-sur-Oise.
One day in late April, during a phone conversation, he saw the card on his computer screen and it suddenly struck him that he was looking at the location of “Tree Roots.” Next to the man and his bicycle, roots and trees are clearly visible.
“It was an epiphany," he said. "A revelation.”
He wasn't able to visit the site for several weeks, but had a friend in the village visit and also took a virtual trip down the lane using Google's Street View.
Villagers know the spot and the main tree root well, even giving it the name “the elephant” because of its shape, Van der Veen said.
”It was really hiding in plain sight and it was even a little bit disguised as it had taken another identity,” he added.
The researcher says that while his discovery has given art historians more to mull about Van Gogh's last working day, it also provides tourists with an extra reason to visit Auvers-sur-Oise.
The French village already draws tens of thousands of visitors each year because of its links to Van Gogh, who spent his final weeks there and is buried in the village's cemetery alongside his brother, Theo.
Humayun Ahmed was a legendary Bangladeshi novelist who also proved his marvelous talent as a dramatist, screenplay writer, filmmaker, songwriter, and scholar. This wizard of words depicted the Bengali middle class through his spellbinding writings. He wrote more than 200 books and made eight films based on his own novels. Most of his books were bestsellers in Bangladesh. Ahmed is the creator of versatile fictional characters who belong to the broad spectrum of society. On the death anniversary (18 July) of this gifted author, we are going to remember some popular characters picked from his novels.
Baker Bhai was the lead character in Kothao Keu Nei, a popular Bangladeshi TV serial created by Humayun Ahmed in 1990. Ahmed portrayed Baker Bhai – starring by notable actor Asaduzzaman Noor – as a local gangster who used to patrol the streets with his two side-kicks, Bodi (Abdul Kader) and Mojnu (Lutfur Rahman George).
By his drama, Kothao Keu Nei, Humayun Ahmed tells the story of a socially unaccepted gangster, who dared to stand against social unfairness and fought for the defenseless, while the educated and respected civilians remained silent. In the drama, Baker was addressed as ‘ Baker Bhai’ by the local people.
The small motorcycle gang of Baker Bhai and his two companions dared to live outside of mainstream society. Baker Bhai was one of the great cluster-breaking characters created by Humayun Ahmed. Though Baker Bhai represented a thug, outlaw, and rebellious spirit, his courage against the injustice of society charmed the audiences.
Baker Bhai fell in love with a woman named Muna (played by Suborna Mustafa), who initially disliked him for being a rogue. Through diverse conflicts and circumstances, Muna started to like Baker for his bravery, sense of justice, and selfless attitude. She was the only soul who stood beside Baker Bhai until the end scene. Furthermore, the powerful acting of Humayun Faridi as a skinflint but talented lawyer made this drama more realistic, thoughtful, and enjoyable.
During the course of the drama, Baker Bhai was betrayed by one of his companions and was hanged on a charge of murder which he had never committed. The kind-hearted Baker Bhai forgave his betrayer friend before his execution. Both the Kothao Keu Nei series and lead character of Baker was so popular in the country, that mass street protests occurred when Baker Bhai was sentenced to be hanged on the screen.
Misir Ali is a fictional character who appeared in a series of novels written by Humayun Ahmed. In the books, Misir Ali is portrayed as a part-time professor of Psychology under the University of Dhaka. Though Ali is not a professional psychiatrist, he has a unique interest and some outstanding forte in parapsychology. In the novels, we found that people seek help from Ali regarding diverse psychiatric treatment. Though being efficient in solving mysteries, he never took money for this special service.
According to novels, Misir Ali is a bachelor living in a small flat with a servant. He lost both of his parents at a young age and was raised by his relatives. Though he is a chain smoker, he tries to quit smoking in every story. The mystifying but humorous lifestyle of Misir Ali amuses the readers.
Humayun Ahmed truly deserves to applaud for creating an intelligent and logical character who does not seem to believe paranormal activities blindly; rather analyze every case with logic and intelligence. He also maintains a personal diary called 'Unsolved,' where he puts down the unresolved mysteries. The character Misir Ali offers huge entertainment to the readers who love supernatural stories and enjoy the sequential untangling of mysterious facts.
The Misir Ali series includes 20 books. Debi (the Goddess), the first book of Misir Ali series, was adapted into the movie named ‘Debi (2018)’ by director Anam Biswas. In this drama, the character Misir Ali was played by the famous Bangladeshi actor Chanchal Chowdhury.
Himu or Himalay is another fictional character sketched by Humayun Ahmed. The character Himu first appeared in the novel titled Mayurakkhi published in 1990. Responding to the popularity of this novel, the author wrote more than 21 novels centering Himu.
Though this character is mostly addressed as 'Himu’, his full name is Himalay, which was given by his father. In each novel, Himu is found to maintain an eccentric lifestyle unlike the other youths of his age. His unconventional way of living is motivated by a diary written by his psychopathic father who wanted to raise him to be a ‘Mohapurush’ or great man.
The character Himu surprises the readers through his weird but amusing attitudes. For instance, Himu dares to mock the police officers without any fear of getting arrested or being molested. He wears a pocket-less yellow Panjabi and enjoys a nomadic life. Most of the days, he tends to walk barefoot on the streets of Dhaka city. During those endless journeys, Himu neither uses any kind of transport nor tries to reach any certain destination. Himu is unemployed and prefers to live on begging instead of doing any kind of hard work.
Throughout the Himu series, the unorthodox outlook of Himu keeps the readers captivated. While in real life, young people are often facing pressure regarding study, career, or relationships, the carefree lifestyle of Himu gives them temporal relief. In fact, many of us secretly bear the hidden wish to be like ‘Himu’.
Himu has some followers – including police officers, neighbors, relatives, tea stall proprietors, beggars, etc – who believe in his spiritual power of forecasting future events. But what Himu really does is confronting people with an unpleasant truth, which is quite rare in this sophisticated society. Instead of looking for logic like Misir Ali, Himu perceives that the strength of beliefs can make things happen.
The fictional character Shuvro was an attempt by the potent novelist Humayun Ahmed to portray a pure human being. The character Shuvro, whose name translates as 'White' in Bangla, is meant to be a pure soul, set apart from the complicated world. Unlike Himu or Misir Ali, Shuvro appears like a next-door boy with an easy-going character. Shuvro represents the iconic figure of a helpful friend who is always there to help.
Humayun Ahmed sketched his fictional character Shuvro as a role model for the readers. Shuvro is the only child of the couple industrialist Mr. Motahar (Iajuddin) and Rehana (Jahanara). The ideal mother-son relationship between Shuvo and Rehana makes these stories blissful. However, in some series, the author put Shuvro in dilemmas and revelations to test the purity of his soul.
From one book to another the character Shuvro shows significant versatility unlike other characters created by Ahmed. In every story, the common things about Shuvro include his name, thick-rimmed glasses, and pure soul. Shuvro owns a distant nature and acts as a bystander. He is not the protagonist who saves everyone, but he tries to alleviate situations in his own ways.
The character Shuvro debuted in the short story titled 'Ekti Shada Gari' (A White Car). As this character got huge popularity, Ahmed brought more novels about Shuvro: Daruchini Dip (Cinnamon Island), Megher Chaya (The Shadow of the Clouds), Rupali Dip (Silvery Island), Shuvro (Shuvro), Ei Shuvro! Ei (Hey Shuvro! Hey), and Shuvro Geche Bone (Shuvro Has Gone to the Forest). The story titled Daruchini Dip (Cinnamon Island) was adapted as a Bangla film in 2007 starring prominent actor Riaz as Shuvro.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) launched an art camp on Wednesday, as part of its ‘Art Against Corona’ venture.
The camp consists of 300 noted and promising artists of Bangladesh.
As part of the camp, the 300 nominated artists were given art-equipment and access to craft their artworks at BSA’s National Art Gallery complex, plaza and studios while maintaining social distancing.
Initiated by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky, the art camp is being administrated by the Fine Arts department of BSA.
The artists are scheduled to submit their artworks at the Fine Arts department of BSA from July 8 to July 20. The artworks will be showcased in a future exhibition, and will be featured in a catalogue.
The art camp is being orchestrated by noted artists Jamal Ahmed, Nazma Akter, Kamal Pasha Chowdhury and Sanjib Das Apu.
A month-long international Sufi festival, organised by Begum Restaurant and Gallery, will begin on Friday.
The festival has been arranged on virtual platform this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, managing director of the gallery, Simi Shaila Nur told UNB.
This year, the celebration will be dedicated to Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, Rehmat Ullah Allahe, she added.
The first day event will be inaugurated by artist and singer Kanak Aditya and national award winning actor Arman Parvez.
Begum Restaurant and Gallery’s all time companion drummer Sheikh Munirul Alam Tipu and Sufi Artist Roni Ahmed will also join the event.
The details about the festival will be available on facebook page- Begum Restaurant and Gallery.
Anyone can join and watch the event virtually on every Saturday and Monday from 9pm to 10pm.
Earlier on July 2, Begum Gallery and Publishers jointly with Vinnochokh organized the fifth episode of International Virtual Poetry and Art Carnival 2020.
Eminent poet Prabal Kumar Basu inaugurated the carnival.
Poet Yashodhara Ray Chaudhuri, Ali Afzal Khan, Shaila Simi Nur, Sardar Faruk, Bikash Ananda Setu, Vaskar Chowdhury, Mayeen Chowdhury among others participated the carnival conducted by popular actor and artist Arman Parvej.
Meanwhile, poets from Bangladesh, India, Czech Republic, Morocco, Greece, Ukraine and Bulgaria also attended the carnival.
A three-week-long virtual concert series styled as ‘The Horizon Sessions’ started its second week with a special concert ‘The Horizon Sessions: The Nationals’ on Friday, aimed to collect charity donations to support the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Super Cyclone Amphan affected people in Bangladesh
Supported by Friendship NGO, the concert was streamed live on ‘The Horizon Sessions’ Facebook page. The series is being hosted by students and alumni of Sunbeams School in honour of late Niloufer Manzur, the founding principal of the school.
Enthralling the online audiences who joined from home and beyond, singer Chotu Khan performed several English tracks including 'Crazy Love', 'Rippled', 'Hallelujah' etc. - which were followed by the renowned drummer of legendary Bangladeshi band ‘Renaissance’, singer-composer Pilu Khan along with his son Dameer Khan, one of the organizers of the initiative. The father-son duo entertained the audiences with popular scores including 'He Bangladesh, Tomar Boyosh Holo Koto', 'Accha Keno Manushgulo', 'Ajker Shishu' etc.
Following their melodious renditions, singer and keyboardist Naquib Khan performed 'Orey Chhotobelar Sathi', 'Ei Mukhorito Jiboner Cholar Pothe', 'Valo Laage Jochhona Raate', A Chittagonian song titled 'Aaron Deshset Jaiyun' and 'Mon Shudhu Mon Chhuyechhe'.
The showstopper of night one, trailblazing Bangladeshi singer-music composer Habib performed 'Raat Nirghum', 'Omor Premer Kahini', and 'Prithibir Joto Shukh'.
During the performances, donors from home and abroad donated in this noble initiative, the organizers informed. The performing artists also urged the audiences to donate for the initiative.
The online music festival, kicked off on June 26, featured Zahra Zillur, Saif Anam, Sharaf Momen, Azaan Khan, Wasti Farzana Khan, Ashreen Mridha, Ace, Ayman Raakin, Shayan Husain, and Shafaat Mridha during its first week.
Night two of the festival’s second week will feature popular Bangladeshi music artist Arnob, Zohad Reza Chowdhury, Tashfee and Imran Rahman on Saturday 7.30 pm.
The donations collected from the series of virtual concerts will go towards building COVID-19 testing booths in rural areas and rebuilding homes, reservoirs, and embankments destroyed by Cyclone Amphan in the southern parts of Bangladesh.
Anyone can contribute to the cause by donating through Bkash and Nagad numbers given on The Horizon Sessions Facebook page. For international donations, bank account numbers are also given on the page along with a ‘GoFundMe’ campaign.