Saturday, 9 April 2011

My visit to Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum- aka my favourite museum trip

       I was  spending my 2011 New Years eve in Amsterdam. I did not have too much time to spend in the city, but I made sure to visit the Vincent Van Gogh museum. What a great decision this was! After walking all over Amsterdam and admiring its mostly renaissance and neo-classical architecture, we finally made it to the museum. The Van Gogh Museum consists of two buildings: the main structure designed by Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973, and the Exhibition Wing by Kisho Kurokawa completed in 1999. The serpentine line up seemed to wrap around the whole  building, yet moved quickly and we made it inside in about twenty minutes. The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world, with over 200 of his works in their permanent collection. The works are displayed in a chronological order, which enables the viewer to witness the creative development of the artist. It was amazing to see masterpieces which I have been looking at for years in art history books. Van Gogh’s work is characterized by very thick impasto, use of complementary colours and by rapid brush strokes which express his feelings about the subject. Van Gogh’s paintings  need to be seen in real life in order to really appreciate his genius. We got really lucky visiting the museum on new years eve night and avoiding the huge crowds. It was great to be able to get very close to the paintings and to examine and appreciate every brush stroke. It was nice for me to discover some paintings strongly influenced by Japanese  ukijo-e prints, as well as some very well known classics such as the Potato eaters. What were my favourite paintings? I will always have a soft spot for The Sunflowers, as a reproduction of this painting hung in the living room of my beloved grandmother’s house. I also can’t seem to shake off the image of the  Wheatfield with Crows. Something about the feeling of imposing doom in the painting engraved in my mind. Our visit to the museum was cut a little short by the closing time, so I never got to buy a souvenir at the gift shop. However, no big deal! I will be back again next time I am in Amsterdam. In fact I recommend to visit this museum for anyone planning on travelling to Amsterdam. Just make sure you give yourself at least 3 hours(or 5 if you are like  me and read everything), and try to go on a day with less traffic. You will love it!


  1. I should really add here that one of the reasons why I love Van Gogh so much (aside from his brilliant use of colour) is that he was one of the first western artists to portray subject matter not as it appears in “reality” but rather as it appears to him. More on this in future posts

  2. have fun you are going to love it. May is a great time of the year to visit the Netherlands