Sunday, November 14, 2010

Amsterdam: Sunflowers, The Jewish Bride, and the Kitchen Maid (Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer) . . .

I’m in an induced state of “Art” Euphoria. Yesterday, I woke up so late (not what I had planned for a head start at the museums), but such is life and being here in this beautiful city how could one really complain. It was a little drizzly, but I thought I would walk over to the museums maybe take photos along the way.

I saw the line at the Rijksmuseum and decided to pass it by and head for the Van Gogh museum. Well, there was a line too, but it wasn’t too long and I was already there so I waited and thankfully it went pretty fast.

In the Van Gogh museum there are 200 of his original paintings and several hundreds of his letters. Of course one of the paintings at the top of my list (The Bedroom) was on loan to a museum in Japan. Well, I can’t blame them for loving his work and wanting to see the real deal and as it turns out Van Gogh was a big admirer of Japanese Art and a few of his pieces reflected that.

Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists and it was utter joy to see his work up close and in person. Seeing them in photos or film does not do them  justice, because they can’t convey the emotions and mood of the paintings, you can’t feel or really see the texture of his brush strokes and be moved by the intimate manner in which he portrays his subjects.

I won’t deny this, some of his work was quite dark, especially “Wheatfield and Crows” which he painted in 1890. A few weeks after painting it Van Gogh shot himself and died a couple of days later in the arms of his brother, Theo.  Very sad.  But there were also moments when Van Gogh appeared to be happy. He loved painting the countryside and sunflowers using his favorite life giving color of yellow. The Sunflower painting was one of my favorites.

At the Rijksmuseum I was enthralled by a couple of paintings, namely the Jewish Bride. It was Sister Wendy’s favorite and also mine. There’s something about the portrait that draws you in . . . a tender gesture by the male towards the female. His use of light colors on dark contrasts to create the illusion of sparkles glistening from her dress. I watched as one person after the other got up closer to the painting to see how the artist created that effect. I did the same. :) The most popular piece is of course the Night Watch which is huge! I read that he was a genius in his use to create light and movement in his painting and you see it here. It’s hard to tell from looking at photos but I can see it much clearer standing only a few steps away.

And finally, my favorite Vermeer painting has to be the Kitchen Maid. He took something so simple and ordinary and created this powerful painting. The composition radiates a quiet calm and the only movement is the flow of the milk being poured. Something so simple and yet it is a standout piece for me. I mean sometimes the most simplest thing if done really well is often better than something really complex with a lot of mumble jumble that is averagely done.

And here are a few images of yesterday's day:

Here's the queue for the Van Gogh Museum. . .

The Rijksmuseum Building is actually more interesting architecture wise . . .

I guess this person decided to park their bike on "top" of the other bikes . . .

Near the Holland Casino, there is a big chess board and this little guy was playing with the big guy in the black jogger suit directly in front of him . . . gotta love that name of that fast food joint in the back "wagamama" he, he . . .

Yesterday my internet connection was lost on my laptop and so I'm a little late in posting yesterday's happenings. 
Today, I'm not sure yet what I'll do . . . woke up a little earlier and so I may be finally settling into the time zone here. I'll make some coffee and then contemplate today's explorations (I love slow traveling) . . . maybe Dam Square since it doesn't seem to be rainey. The weather is funny here, it stays dark until late and gets dark early. So I can't really tell time by the sunlight here. I guess I could set my alarm clock, but who wants to do that on vacation . . . not me. At least for now.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful day with some truly amazing art. Enjoyed reading this!

  2. The Van Gogh Museum is one of my favorites. I've seen Wagamama in Perth. I've never eaten there, and I didn't realize that they are a chain. The name makes me chuckle as well.

  3. What a fantastic day, the Van Gogh museum must have been stunning!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.