Is that a Pistil in Your Pocket?

Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund/Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.

There’s something really sexy about van Gogh’s 1887 painting Sunflowers, not in the Georgia O’Keeffe way exactly, but as though the artist were exposing something private and intimate about the plants. The picture is in “Van Gogh Up Close,” an exhibition that just opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Focusing on the period between 1896 and 1890, it explores the ways the artist messed with traditional perspective to create bizarre, dramatic still lifes and landscapes that helped change the course of modern art.

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