We visited three museums in Amsterdam...not bad for a day and a half! I loved each one. I think part of the reason was that we were not allowed to take pictures inside. This let us enjoy the paintings and messages more in themselves. We didn't have to worry about getting a good shot and looking at art only through our camera lenses. And I thought the descriptions were well-written and interesting. Another part of this was the Museumkaart we received from the university...not only does it mean free admission, but you cut lines as well. We flashed our cards and sauntered past the huge line at the Van Gogh museum- excellent.
Anne Frank Huis- Worth any wait. We only had to wait a few minutes, but it was still packed. The house was sterile and bare, as Otto Frank requested that it be left as it was, unfurnished, after the Nazis removed everything when the Franks were betrayed. The presentation was moving and respectful. The multi-storied house felt empty, and I think that was a correct feeling. Having read the diary, I was very moved by the quotes on the walls and the photographs.
We were able to climb up the hidden staircase behind the bookshelf and walk through the rooms that the family lived in. It was actually larger than I had expected, but nowhere near large enough for eight confined people over a span of two years. The only thing left was Anne's photographs and magazine clippings on her walls.
However, the most powerful part of the museum for me was reaching Anne's real diary only to see a wall full of translations in different languages, fulfilling her desire to become a writer and publish her thoughts after the war. She is now one of the most famous writers in the world! I will absolutely be reading her diary again sometime soon.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam- What was best about this museum was the fact that I recognized many paintings here! Naturally, Dutch Art History covered most of the painters represented...from Rembrandt to Rubens, Vermeer to Steen, we enjoyed a little "pre" studying for our art exam (which is tomorrow, yikes).
Some of my favorites:
Vermeer- I am a big fan. His blues and yellows are brighter than I could have imagined, especially on The Milkmaid. That blue color just can't be captured in a picture. The Little Street was gorgeous too. Beautiful.
Night Watch by Rembrandt- it was huge and interesting to see the details up close.
Franz Hals' The Jolly Drinker- love this one.
Van Gogh Museum- This may have been my favorite art museum we have been to. There was a special display on nighttime, and guess what painting was on loan from New York?
Starry Night! It was amazing. But so was everything else. Van Gogh is really an artistic genius and all the more interesting because of his self-analyzation in his letters to his brother Theo. For some reason it strikes me that he signed his paintings with a simple "Vincent." I loved all of the paintings here-- they were beautiful and creative and surprising. The museum was wonderful because it is completely dedicated to one artist. So, the works were displayed in chronological order, with each room providing an overview of his life experiences for a period in his life. It is a tragedy that he was unable to see the impact, influence, and popularity of his amazing paintings.
Collectively, I would say that the museums in Amsterdam were my favorites so far. I know that I am leaving out the Louvre, which was undoubtedly fantastic. But the works in these museums had so much personal significance to me- I thoroughly enjoyed them.