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Trip Report Museum exhibits on in Amsterdam/Hague now

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I just returned from 5 days in Amsterdam. To the extent this may be of interest to anyone here, Im cross-posting this from my Museum exhibition thread in the lounge.

On the outside chance anyone reading this is anywhere near Amsterdam soon, I can't recommend highly enough the Munch:Van Gogh exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum. This is, without a doubt, the single best exhibit I've seen anywhere (and I've seen plenty, here and in Europe). Everything about it was perfect: the theme, the subthemes, the install and labels, the wall colors, the flow and way-finding, the crowd control. The main theme was that they inspired each other. While there is no evidence that they met, they were geographically close a couple times (Paris in particular) and certainly knew of each other. After Van Gogh's death, Munch often mentioned how inspired he was by him and many paintings he did could easily be drawn as parallels to those of Vincent before him. The sub-themes of color, emotion, style and influences were also well explained and supported. And the bonus of it all was seeing such a treasure trove of works by both artists from their monographic museums and also loans from other encyclopedic museums around the world. If I lived closer, I'd go another couple of times. I've devoured the catalog since I returned home and have learned more still. Researching a trip to Oslo for a Munch pilgrimage, I think. As much as I loved Rembrandt at the National Gallery last year and Monet in Paris in 2010, this one show far surpassed them both.

We saw 21 other exhibitions over 5 days. I'll only write up the interesting ones:

Both the Mauritshuis and the Rijksmuseum have "Selfie" exhibits on, which 15 years ago would have just been called Self-Portraits. The one at the Mauritshuis was better structured and presented. It was sort of neat to see a nice collection of self-portraits of artists of the Golden Age, especially when I'd not seen what many of them look like before. The Selfie exhibit at the Rijksmuseum was mostly small drawings, not as nicely organized and presented and not many names one would know offhand except a few Rembrandts and a Kathe Kollwitz.

Also got to the Escher Museum which was very interesting. An impressive collection of drawings and prints, but a LOT of reading involved to make sense of the rooms. The labels in each room were ceiling to almost mid-floor and a LOT of text, which tired me out, to be honest.

Hermitage Amsterdam has a Spanish Masters exhibit on, which was fair. One El Greco, a couple Velazquez and one Picasso. The rest were a lot of lesser names. The Amsterdam Museum put on an exhibit there at the Hermitage of group portraits (think along the lines of the Night Watch) and the final room had a lot of the group portraits that were meant to hang with the Night Watch when it was painted. That one room alone was very impressive.

Amsterdam Museum has an interesting New York Meets the Dam exhibition on graffiti and how NY graffiti artists influenced Amsterdam artists. This was actually quite interesting. I learned a lot about both graffiti cultures.

This was the first time I'd been back to see the renovations of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Mauritshuis, and was suitably impressed. But by far, the highlight was the Hall of Honor in the Rijksmuseum. When I rounded the corner and saw the Night Watch at the far end of the hall, I really thought I heard angels. Just a wonderful experience.

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