Van Gogh and the Seasons #3

The National Gallery of Victoria’s 2017 Winter Masterpieces will be a major exhibition of Van Gogh, focusing on the seasons that had such a profound influence on him, and the places that were the setting for many of the defining moments of his tumultuous life.

Arrive in Melbourne and check-in to the Westin Melbourne.

Tour arrangements begin at 5.00 pm with a welcome talk and dinner followed by a concert of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Hamer Hall. Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, the performances stars soloists Daniel Müller-Scott (cello) and Christopher Moore (viola).

R. Strauss – Don Quixote
Beethoven / Dean – Adagio molto e mesto
Beethoven – Symphony No. 6 Pastoral


Join John for an illustrated introduction to ‘Van Gogh and The Seasons’, followed by a visit to the exhibition and time to further explore the National Gallery of Victoria.

In the afternoon visit the Heide Museum of Modern Art. ‘Heide’ as it is affectionately known, began life in 1934 as the Melbourne home of John and Sunday Reed and has since evolved into one of Australia’s most unique destinations for modern and contemporary Australian art. The May tour will have the opportunity to see an exhibition of Charles Blackman’s compelling Schoolgirls series, produced between 1952 and 1955, which marked a turning point in the artist’s career, sealing his reputation as a significant painter of modern life in the post-war era. June exhibition details to be announced.

Late afternoon return to the hotel.

Tonight, you may wish to attend The Australian Ballet’s performance of David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Not included in tour cost, prices from $43 – $236.


Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. Or extend your stay in Melbourne. Extra night rates available on request.


Per person, twin-share

AUD 950


AUD 1,200

Deposit (per person) at time of booking

AUD 250

*All prices are per person, in AUD.

*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.

Final payment due

09 May 2017

Tour codes


Fitness level

Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.


Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance.

Tour price includes

  • Two nights’ accommodation at the Westin Melbourne with breakfast daily (B)
  • Welcome dinner (D), incl. wines
  • Premium-reserve tickets for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert
  • Illustrated introduction to ‘Van Gogh and The Seasons’
  • Pre-booked exhibition entrance
  • Half-day tour to Heide Museum of Modern Art

Tour price does not include

  • Flights to/from Melbourne
  • Transfers on arrival and departure
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, minibar etc.)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Optional performances 24 June


Your hotel

Westin Melbourne*****
Located on Collins Street and Flinders Lane in the heart of the Melbourne CBD the Westin Melbourne is surrounded by renowned restaurants, bars, and Melbourne’s best shopping and most famous historical sites.

Elegant and contemporary, the 262 spacious guest rooms are among the largest standard rooms in the city (min 38 sqm). All rooms feature the Westin Heavenly Bed®, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, flat screen television, in-room safe, mini bar and 24-hour in-room dining. For recreation, the hotel offers a Wellness Centre with indoor heated 20 metre lap pool, bubble pool, sauna, steam room and a 24-Hour fitness centre. Dining options include Allegro Restaurant (modern Australian cuisine), the Lobby Lounge (light meals, an extensive beverage menu and High Tea) and the elegant Wine Room, a private dining venue.


NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.


The seasons had profound meaning for Van Gogh: they represented the circle of life within nature – birth, bloom, maturity and death. For the artist, this ongoing cycle represented the greatness of nature and the existence of a higher force. Van Gogh repeatedly painted scenes that richly evoke the sensory pleasures or deprivations particular to each season – spring-time, with its blossoming orchards and flowering meadows; summer, with fields of ripe wheat shimmering under the hot sun; autumn, with bountiful harvests and solitary figures sowing seeds as dusk approaches; and winter, with peasants digging potatoes out of frozen fields, or sharing a meagre meal by candlelight.

The exhibited works depict places that were the setting for many defining moments in the artist’s tumultuous life – the Dutch region of Brabant, where Van Gogh was born in 1853 and lived for much of his early life; Arles, where the artist experienced his most defining period of creativity; Saint-Rémy de Provence, where he was treated for mental illness in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum; and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh committed suicide in 1890.

‘Van Gogh and the Seasons’ features works lent by leading international museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (which respectively hold the largestand second largest collections of works by Van Gogh in the world). It features approximately forty paintings and twenty-five drawings, presented within sections devoted to each of the four seasons. Additional documentary material, including works from Van Gogh’s own art collection (such as Japanese woodcuts), will provide fascinating context and show ‘the seasons’ as a subject of perennial interest to artists of many different cultures and eras.

The exhibition invites viewers to contemplate Van Gogh’s life and experiences through his observations of the seasonal changes within the natural world. Drawing extensively from Van Gogh’s letters and from research into his deep interest in literature and nature, Van Gogh and the Seasons explores the influences and themes that dominate much of this visionary artist’s work.

‘Van Gogh and The Seasons’ is curated by Sjraar van Heugten (independent art historian and former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam). 


Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890, Pine Trees and Dandelions in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital 1890 (detail), Saint-Rémy, early September 1889 oil on canvas 72.5 x 91.5 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890, Pine Trees and Dandelions in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital 1890 (detail), Saint-Rémy, early September 1889 oil on canvas 72.5 x 91.5 cm. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum