Archive for the ‘Painting’ Category

This week (again, back dating! Sorry!) Wouter took (most of) a week off from work. Originally we had hoped to visit some far off exotic land like the Canary Islands, Egypt or Brussels. But, as it turns out, far off exotic lands are either expensive or just as cold and wintery as Amsterdam, so we decided to stick around here. But to make it seem like more of a vacation we’re trying to be tourists in our home city.

First order of business– buy a museum year card. These cards give you entrance to more than 400 museums all over the Netherlands. And at 40 Euro, they are a steal– especially if you consider that single one day entrance passes to the Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum alone will run you 26.50!

We confirmed that the Van Gogh Museum sold the cards, so we hopped on our bikes to Museumplein. Although we planned to go to FOAM (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam), the ticket sales woman handed us two passes to the Van Gogh with our brand new cards. Huh, why not.

I’ve toured the Van Gogh before (paying full (exorbitantly high) price), so we tried out the special Gauguin exhibit. I was really amped for this exhibit because I really am fascinated by the relationship between Van Gogh and Gauguin. VG was totally ga-ga for Gauguin, desperately trying to lure him to his little painting hide away in Arles in the South of France. And in their 9 weeks together they produced some fantastically beautiful work! But then again, it seems like the two couldn’t stand each other, each feeding off of the other’s depression– Gauguin attempting suicide and Van Gogh losing an ear. What a pair!

I also find Gauguin’s fascination with travels and foreign cultures intriguing. He never settled down for very long. Not to discount his commitment to pushing the art world past Impressionism, it amazes me that someone could become so famous for skipping around the world, painting a picture now and then when they need some cash. More than that, I am baffled how some people feel perfectly comfortable with such a rootless, unstructured life-style. I’m a planner. I like things in neat little boxes. On most days I refuse to leave the house if the destination is unknown and my time not metered out in nice 30-minute blocks. And here is Paul Gauguin. As far as I could tell from the exhibit, he hung around Europe for a while until he wracked up enough debt. Then he scurried off to Panama, Martinique, Polynesia– moving whenever he got bored or faced financial difficulties. Really!? I’m just trying to imagine that– ‘Hm, I can’t really get things sorted here in Europe so I’ll hop a flight to the South Pacific!’ While part of my discomfort is probably just jealousy, I can’t imagine doing anything that dramatic without a clear plan. I wish I could, but I can’t.

…but wait… here I am, a newly official resident of the Netherlands and *totally* without a plan!


Ok, before this turns into an existential crisis, let’s move on.

Our next museum visit was to the Mauritshuis, the Royal Picture Gallery in the Hague. What a phenomenal collection of Dutch art. To briefly sum up, the Dutch painters seemed to be enthusiastic about dark scenes, crude village scenes (can you spot the guy “dropping trou” in the background? It’s like “Where’s Waldo?”), drinking, flowers, cityscapes, seascapes, tall ships and gigantic cows (this sucker is 2.3 x 3.4 meters!). The Mauritshuis also a sizable collection of Rembrant and Vermeer (sizable in terms of proportion of total paintings, in this case) — it was a thrill to see View of Delft in person. The up-close details were marvelous.

A good start with the Museumjaarkaartjes– halfway to paid off in one week! (And afterall, keeping track of such things is the Dutch way…)

Spring springs in Den HaagSpring has sprung in the Netherlands!


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A seemingly Dutch-inspired surrealist painting by Russian artist Vladimir Kush, spotted on TrendLand. Oil paintings, no computer involved, clearly influenced by Dali and yet so original.

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