11 April 2014

A Tale of Two Cities

This story pans across two great cities - London and Amsterdam. A lot of people go to Amsterdam to learn more about the work and life of Van Gough at the dedicated museum on Museumplein. I knew I definitely wanted the chance to go to this museum when I made Trip 5 to Amsterdam. A couple of weeks before my trip, I had a warm up at The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London.


For a short period of time you can see two of Van Gough's sunflower paintings side-by-side. (Didn't know he did multiple versions?... I'll confess I may have an A in A-Level art, but neither did I until recently.) It's free (hurrah...) but after you get your little ticket you have to stand in the queue, which took us around 30 mins on a Saturday.

I originally fancied doing this on my own. Going to art galleries on your own is great. You see what you want for how long you want, you sit down, you people watch, you sigh and then you carry on with your day. Instead my parents quite fancied a trip to London too, but as you can see they weren't too much hassle...

You can't take photos in The National Gallery (didn't know this), but here's a lovely shot of my chosen souvenir...


Now this is "le grand"... a WHOLE MUSEUM dedicated to Van Gough. Well actually there are temporary exhibitions on one of the floors and you also get a chance to see some of the people who inspired his work, so it's not completely exclusive.

I love this museum and it makes it to my top 5 ever. And the reason why I love it, is because you learn about Van Gough's life. He's portrayed as a real person. Sounds mad, but I have used similar methods in my own artwork. For example, he bought a pair of boots at a market and then muddied them before painting them. He painted some Japanese postcards, but made up a background so they weren't boring - how much of this sounds familiar to art students out there?? It's not stuffy and pretentious. It tells you what inspired him, the people that affected his artwork and not forgetting his rocky mental health.

I have a few tips for you though...

1. Buy your tickets from the Museum Shop. There was not one person in the queue when we went. We got given a timed slot and walked straight through. It's not any more expensive and saved us at least a 30 minute wait (AT LEAST!). It is located right by the IAMSTERDAM installation. See the photos below...

 2. Get an audio guide - I recommend the kids. Lucy and I both really enjoyed the kids audio guide. The recordings will take you on an hour-ish long trip round the museum and the information is simple but still informative... And if you listen right to the end you get a free postcard. All for 2,50 euros. An adults audio guide is 5 euros. Children's audio guides are aimed at children 12 years and below.

3. Allow time to look at the floor covering the way he painted and what he used. I haven't found this sort of information at other museums and galleries, so it's a unique touch. Plus there are some interactive areas, which Lucy lurvs.

For more information...

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