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quinta-feira, 28 de julho de 2016

The Museum Quarter in Amsterdam

The Museum Quarter is home to the three most important art museums in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art

The Quarter is also close to the Concertgebouw

The Rijksmuseum 

The Rijksmuseum opened its doors in 1885. In 2013, after a ten-year renovation, it was reopened by Queen Beatrix. I remember still the flash mob which, at the time, sought to recreate the famous Rembrandt painting, The Night Watch. I wrote a blog-post about it when it happened. 

The Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world. It is thus no surprise to find a long queue of people seeking to purchase the entrance tickets. I visited the Van Gogh museum for the first time in 1976; no wonder I could not recognize it now. The old Rietveld Building, which opened in 1973, has been subject to a huge transformation, and a new wing was added in 1999 (Kurokawa Wing). 

A glass structure positioned between the original museum building and the more recent wing provides a new entrance hall. Moreover, adding the glass structure to the museum (like the Louvre pyramid) gave an air transparency to the overall environment, and allowed for light to be reflected throughout the building. I very much liked that new addition.

Van Gogh only started to paint at the age of 27. He studied and practiced drawing without stopping, a skill which not all painters are good at. His brother, Theo, supported him financially. Although during his life he never became financially successful or greatly recognized, after his death, his sister in law and nephew managed to sell a few paintings, lend works to museums and later create a Van Gogh Foundation, where his major works were first shown to the public.

I saw some Van Gogh paintings in museums outside of the Netherlands, although The Van Gogh Museum has by far the largest collection of works. MoMA in New York has his fantastic Starry Night. In 2000 I visited the exhibition Van Gogh Face to Face in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where a collection of portraits and drawings from all over the world were put on display.

 Later, in 2010, I also managed to visit the exhibition The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, where the original letters to his brother were showcased, along with paintings and drawings reflecting the themes of his many correspondence. This was the first Van Gogh exhibition in London for over 40 years and it thus attracted very many people.

Sunset at Montmajour is a post I wrote in 2013 about this Van Gogh painting.

The Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art

This museum, like most modern art museums has many interesting paintings, but also a few installations that, to be frank, made me laugh.

Amsterdam 10-13 July 2016

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