Van Gogh in Amsterdam

by Becky

A few years ago a friend and I were fortunate enough to be given an expenses paid trip to Amsterdam. As part of the trip we were taken to the Van Gogh Museum in the Museumplein.

Ever since I was young I've been fascinated by Van Gogh's paintings. I was home schooled and we used to have a subject that was called "Picture Study" in our curriculum. We had a set of books with paintings of various artists.

The ones I loved the best were Van Gogh and Monet. I think it's the impressionist style that appeals to me.

One of my favourites, that I've spent hours and hours just looking at is the The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night. I spent many hours trying to copy the colours and elements of this picture but I never could.

Just how did Vincent get that lamplit area of the café to look like it was lit with artificial light? And the other windows on the houses, softly illuminated with gas lamps. Even though it's impressionistic it's realistic too - how did he do that?

And then there's the Sunflowers. What I hadn't appreciated until we went to the Van Gogh Museum was that there was more than one version of the sunflowers. In fact, my niece has just been to visit the National Gallery in London and she tells me that there two of Van Gogh's sunflower pictures on show side by side at the moment.

Being a garden sort of girl I really enjoyed looking at the Irises, Saint-Remy too. When I was about 10 I spent hours and hours in our garden painting pictures of the irises. There's something about the rich purple blue that is very exciting. Getting the exact colour is a challenge and I can see exactly why Van Gogh made variations of this picture too.

If you ever get the opportunity to go to Amsterdam this is one museum you should not miss.

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