The Royal Academy of Arts presents a landmark exhibition of the work of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890). The exhibition focuses on the artist’s remarkable correspondence. Van Gogh was a compulsive and eloquent correspondent. The originality of his ideas about art, nature and literature, combined with his deep understanding of these subjects, make Van Gogh’s letters much more than a personal expression of feelings: they attain the status of great literature. In reading the letters one encounters not only a sensitive, determined and exceptionally hardworking man, but also someone possessed of a powerful intellect; this exhibition challenges the view that Van Gogh was an erratic genius by allowing the viewer a rare insight into his artistic process through the intimate medium of his correspondence. Together the letters create a ‘self-portrait’, and reveal the ways in which Van Gogh defined himself as an artist and as a human being.Taking the letters as its starting point, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters views the paintings and drawings from the perspective of the correspondence.