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Travelling through Europe - Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 2015.

Despite visiting Amsterdam several times I was still yet to visit its galleries. I had long known about the Van Gogh Exhibition and Rembrandt’s house but was still yet to visit. When I wasn’t exploring the winding streets and alleys of Hollands most notorious city I was being blown away by its beauty. From the central station to Gaasperplas Park there was much to see but as I walked my way down the main stretch I thought a trip to the Van Gogh Ultimate Exhibition was long over due.

A collection of more than 200 of Van Gogh’s most famous and inspiring paintings, painstakingly retouched and re coloured, through digital technology allowed me to experience his work as it was meant to be seen, with vivid colours and loose marks sucking me in deeper and deeper into Van Gogh’s mind. A full collection of letters and diaries further solidified my empathy with Gogh’s work giving me a clearer understanding than ever before.

Something that really grabbed me about the exhibition was the sheer amount of work on show, some of which I had never seen before. His early works looking so alien to his later more expressionistic pieces. This journey to greatness was made ever more interesting through reading his letters, giving me a glimpse of what Van Gogh’s thought process was like. It also made me empathise with him on a a human level, something which I found so contrasting was how such a troubled individual could create works of sure pure beauty and colour and this was something that stayed with me long after I arrived back in the UK.

I next made my way to Rembrandt’s house which had been faithfully and loyally restored allowing me to step back in time and explore not only Rembrandt’s home but his studio. When looking at the works of the masters it is hard to not be blown away and this museum was no exception. I saw many props and paintings which Rembrandt used for inspiration in his own work and also many of his own etchings. When seeing these etchings up close I started to get a real understanding of Rembrandt’s brilliance when it comes to detail, the lighting in these etchings was something that really inspired me and as a result I tried to make some small sketches of my own in my trusty moleskine.

Unfortunately the museum was forced to close early so I was unable to spend as much time there as I would have liked but next time I find myself in Amsterdam I will most certainly be going back for another visit.

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