Van Gogh bust modelled on Dorset lookalike is unveiled

Matthew Dunn waxes Douglas Coupland's bronze sculpture "Vincent van Gogh" Image copyright Polich Tallix
Image caption The bronze sculpture is 3m (10ft) high and 2m (6.5ft) wide

A giant sculpture of Vincent Van Gogh's head, modelled on a Dorset man, has been installed in a Canadian vineyard.

The competition to find the "world's most accurate" lookalike was organised by the work's creator Douglas Coupland.

He chose actor Dan Baker, 35, from Christchurch, out of 1,250 entries from 37 countries.

Canadian author and artist Coupland said the bronze bust celebrates "the genetic magic" in both redheads and Pinot Noir grapes.

Image copyright AP / Douglas Coupland
Image caption Dan Baker from Dorset won a competition to find the "world's most accurate" Van Gogh lookalike
Image copyright James O'Mara
Image caption The sculpture, by Douglas Coupland (left), was commissioned by vineyard owner Anthony von Mandl

He said Pinot Noir grapes were the result of "natural mutations in Burgundy's vineyards over centuries", while red hair was a genetic mutation in humans.

The 3m (10ft) high and 2m (6.5ft) wide sculpture has been installed in the Pinot Noir vineyard at Martin's Lane Winery in British Columbia.

Coupland, author of cult novel Generation X, said it was lying on its side as if listening to the grapes growing.

It is the first in a series of works commissioned by the vineyard, under the title "Redheads".

Mr Baker, who was flown to Canada to have his head 3D-scanned for the project, said he felt "utterly honoured" to have been cast into bronze as an "iconic ginger".

Who was Vincent van Gogh?

Image copyright Van Gogh Museum/BBC

Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 in the Dutch village of Zundert.

He worked as an art dealer and took up painting himself in his 20s but struggled to sell his art.

Van Gogh cut off his own ear in 1888 and died from a gunshot wound in July 1890, in an apparent suicide.

He had produced more than 2,000 artworks including about 850 oil paintings. After his death buyers began to emerge for his work and his reputation grew. In the 20th Century he became regarded as one of the most influential figures in Western art.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam opened in 1973 and his paintings sell for millions of pounds. His work Irises, painted in 1889, became the most expensive painting in the world when it sold for $53.9m in 1987 (£29.5m at the exchange rate of the time).

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