Thursday, 17 June 2010

Amsterdam part 3

(We had internet problems whilst away so in true Blue Peter style......here's one I prepared earlier...)

Yesterday was absolutely wonderful! The area we are staying in is beautiful and I had a lovely long walk down wide, tree lined avenues that led to the stunning purpose built building that houses the Van Gogh Museum.....and OMG what a museum!!

It really is a moving experience to trace Vincent van Gogh's tragic life and extraordinary achievement through such a varied display of his art. The museum houses the world largest collection....it has 200 paintings and over 500 drawings not to mention 850 letters that he wrote to friends and family. The thing I really loved about the museum was that it put his work into context....it started with paintings done by his contemporaries such as Gauguin, Monet and Pissarro, showed his very early work (which really was pretty awful!), highlighted the influence the Impressionism movement had on his work and then documented his growth as an artist. The lovely thing was that it didn't stop there...it then went on to show how his work influenced the next generation of artists....it was extremely interesting and moving.

I got to see his 'vase with sunflowers', 'Bedroom at Arles', 'Irises' and 'Wheatfield with Crows' to name but a few. I adore his Sunflowers (one of my favourite flowers too) and his painting of the Irises was absolutely captivating (the blue against the yellow was so vibrant it just jumped off the canvas) and his Japanese style paintings were just as stunning...my favourite was 'Almond Branches in Bloom' which he painted in 1890 after the birth of his nephew (he painted it as a symbol of new life). The guide thingumy (I have no idea what you call them but you have headphones and a keypad) was worth every penny (actually that should really be Euro shouldnt it) as it was very moving standing looking at a painting listening to the actual words he had used to describe it (we know this from the letters).

It's actually thanks to his sister-in-law that we have what we see today....after his death, and the death of his brother six months later, she decided that she would dedicate her life to showing the world what an amazing talent he had and she put together a number of exhibitions showing his work. It was these exhibitions that brought his paintings into the public eye and influenced the next generation....can you imagine what would have happened if she'd thought they were crap...*shudders*

17 comments:

  1. Just fantastic. I had no idea that all his letters were there too.

    Thank goodness his SIL didn't think 'crap'. Shudders indeed!

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  2. I love all this stuff. And it's such a thrill to get to see it all together. His painting "A Starry Night" was my first ever favourite painting and I had a poster of it on my wall as an early teen. Also,I saw your comment about my launch. So far, the possible dates are Sept 23 or Sept 30. I do hope you're around for it!

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  3. Oh, sounds like a wonderful experience. And poor Van G - not appreciated as an artist during his lifetime!

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  4. That's a frightening thought, thank heavens his sis-in-law appreciated his paintings.

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  5. This was very interesting. We could all do with a SIL who thought so highly of us.

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  6. Gorgeous photos! I never thought SILs could be so supportive!

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  7. Lane - I didn't know his letter were their either and I found it absolutely fasinating to hear what he had to say and how he described his own work!

    Sue - Unfortunately 'A Starry Night' is not in Amsterdam cause it's one of my favourites too...although the others more than made it up for it!!

    We're booking this weekend so I should be able to let you know soon...I do really want to be there!!

    LadyFi - It's tragic that he was never recognised in his lifetime...not sure it would have made a difference to the outcome of his life though!

    DJ - It was fasinating!

    I have to say that I am lucky and have two wonderful sister-in-laws...not sure they think that highly of me but hey...

    Talli - I don't need much of an excuse to post lovely pictures!! (even more amazing when you learn that it was his brother that supported him financially so that he could paint!!)

    C x

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  8. I've wanted for a long time to go to the Van Gogh Museum - but I've not been to Amsterdam as yet. Thanks, with this lovely post, for reminding me that it's something I need to do.

    I shudder to think how I would take it though - I'm recalling the second time I went to the Fundacio Miro in Barcelona and was moved to the point where I had tears rolling down my cheeks for ages..

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  9. How fantastic! Am feeling a wee bit envious here!
    :-) XX

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  10. Trousers - I have to be honest and say that there were a couple of times that I was in tears! Listening to him describe his time in the mental institute and the images he produced when he was there was rather incredible!!

    I've not been to Barcelona yet....it's on my list of places that I want to visit!!

    Amanda - It was fab...I'm a lucky lass!

    C x

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  11. Wow, this is one of those moments where family is the best!! I'm glad she decided his work was as amazing as we all think it is today!!!

    BTW I am studying English, looking to become a High School English Teacher.

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  12. I've also been to this wondrous place and also got very emotional. Poor Vincent.

    xxx

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  13. Jen - Yep, I'm so so so glad that she loved them and thought they were worth shouting about!

    I've just left a comment on your blog...you will love every minute of it!

    French Fancy - I couldn't agree with you more! It's a wonderous place indeed :-)

    C x

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  14. I wonder what Vincent would have made of that super-modern building - did it do anything to complement the work? I'd love to see it!

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  15. Sounds like an interesting time.

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  16. I love A Starry Night - and also the Don McLaen tribute track of the same name. Indeed the world was never meant for one as beautiful as VVG - a much misunderstood man.

    Thanks for this excellent post

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  17. Louise - I would have to say that his work did look great hanging in the building. You could see it from a number of different angles and the space was big enough that you could get close to the work (I remember going to the Louvre years ago and could barely see the Mona Lisa). My one problem with the building was that there was a post in the middle of one room which meant that 'Wheatfield with crows' wasn't easy to see but apart from that it was pretty good!

    Helen - I had a fab time :-)

    Boonsong - Welcome and thank you for leaving a comment!

    Starry Night is a stunning painting isn't it. I would have loved to have seen it in the flesh but, as I said to Sue, the others more than made up for it. I'll have to go and look for the Don McLaen track...I didn't know he had done one!

    C x

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