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Vincent and the Doctor: when time travel and art meet

Vincent and the Doctor: when time travel and art meet

June 05, 2023

Any long-time Kite followers will know that time travel and art are among our biggest interests. These two themes were memorably brought together in Season 5 Episode 10 of Doctor Who. Airing for the first time 13 years ago today, this episode cemented itself as a firm fan favourite, and is even known by many art fans who don’t usually watch the show. 

The plot of the episode follows Amy and the Doctor as they travel back in time to meet Vincent, after being inspired by his work in the Musée d'Orsay in modern-day Paris. Arriving in 1890, the pair of time travellers quickly strike up a friendship with the volatile but charming painter, and Amy hopes that their friendship will help to prevent his suicide. 

The most beloved moment of the episode occurs when Amy and the Doctor take Vincent with them to 2010, to experience his legacy at the Musée d'Orsay. The Doctor asks a museum guide, played by Bill Nighy, to describe Vincent Van Gogh’s legacy in 100 words. The guide says:

“Well, big question, but to me, Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly, the most popular great painter of all time. The most beloved. His command of colour, the most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world. No one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.”

Vincent is reduced to tears. 

If you haven’t seen it already, you can watch the clip here — make sure you have some tissues ready!

The sentiment expressed by that museum guide at the Musée d'Orsay is shared by many people – including us at Kite. We were inspired to create some prints inspired by his work, check them out in our Art Squared collection.

Image source: Doctor Who, BBC




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