Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Art in Amsterdam

So my little baby brother spent his spring break with me in Londontown on the (unspoken) condition that we also go to Amsterdam for a few days. And you can go ahead and guess that it wasn't for the art. But he is a sensible boy afterall and a pretty cultured one as well so we did spend tons of time in the fabulous museums of Amsterdam.

The Rijksmuseum is a truly gorgeous building undergoing some major renovations. So you only see a fraction of the contens which is a bit of a bummer despite all the Rembrandts. I did love the way the interior was designed. They had some really cool wallpaper which reminded me (in a good way) of something you might get at Urban Outfitters. But the gift shop made me smile with a postcard they had taped to their till- It was of the Girl with a Pearl Earing saying "I am in The Mauritshuis in The Hague!!"

The museum that really blew me away was the Van Gogh Museum. It was so well laid out! It was set up chronologically so it's more like reading a biography of the artist. I don't know why more museums don't follow this format. I know it may not be incredibly inspired or avant guarde, but I loved it. It just makes sense for god's sake! I was at the Tate Modern recently and one of their exhibitions is called "Dreams and Poetry" or some such nonesense which sounds 'nice' but as all the art is by Surrealists, it's just freaking confusing. When art is "out there" it's better to keep your exhibit grounded-

In any case, the museum has some truly iconic pieces:

and some I never would have guessed were by Van Gogh:

Even the museum's website kicks some ass- They have images of all their paintings and the "important" ones (whatever that may mean) have a flash player to zoom into the painting and see all that wonderful brushstroke detail.

Due to an unforunate plumbing accident, my brother wasn't able to go to Tate Britain, but it hardly mattered since the Van Gogh Museum was having a Millais Exhibit which was pretty massive.


  1. Ahhh Amsterdam a great city , the art is lovely.

  2. i've been to amsterdam twice! i almost can't believe it! you're right about how wonderful the van gogh museum set up is. maybe i should do blog recaps on my long ago travel to help me remember the details for future trips. i'm so bad at that - remembering what accommodations, restaurants, etc i enjoyed that i have to start all over with planning the second time around.

  3. Julia- I've found that posting about my travels (no matter how long ago they were) is so incredibly beneficial. It's just so wonderful reading these sometimes even brief recaps months later. Now I'm trying to do the same for my travels to India from 4 years ago!