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Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam Netherlands Art Museums

With an oeuvre on permanent loan from the Van Gogh Foundation, the great artist's eponymous museum houses the largest collection of his works anywhere in the world. Over 200 paintings and 500 drawings are on display, as well as 700 letters - the majority of which are "progress reports" to his brother Theo, in which his depression and frustration is perhaps most evident.

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Vincent Van Gogh had a short but generative career that lasted just 9 years and resulted in over 900 paintings. However, his struggle with mental illness was to become as legendary as his most famous works. In 1888 he cut off his ear lobe during a psychotic episode before committing suicide two years later, aged just 37. In fact, many have attributed Van Gogh's distinctive style of distorted draughtsmanship and intense brushstrokes to his madness, but it has since become apparent that he only painted while in a stable state of mind.

Not the one of the real architectural wonders in the city but the colletion inside is ausome.

The museum chronicles every year of his life, which is split into seven key stages. The first begins with his upbringing in the village of Zundert in the south Netherlands, his relinquishment of boarding school and his characteristically fervent forays into teaching and missionary work. In 1880 he made the decision to become an artist and began taking painting lessons in The Hague. Two years later he received his first commission: a request from his uncle to produce 12 pen and ink drawings of the Dutch capital. Dissatisfied with his infrequent assignments, Van Gogh made a decision to focus on depicting peasant life, and, in 1885, he produced his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters. Then of course, it was hardly viewed with such reverence (even by brother Theo) and Vincent subsequently moved to Paris and began to study the developing French Impressionist movement. His time spent in the French capital saw him mingle with the likes of Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissarro and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; and his style began to assimilate these surrounding influences. Years spent in both Paris and Arles saw the production some of his most renowned works, many of which are housed right here. They include numerous self-portraits (he was the cheapest model available), Wheatfield and the iconic Sunflowers. By 1889, however, Van Gogh was deep in the throes of depression and voluntarily admitted himself to the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Remy. Painting became his therapy while confined and the tortured artist depicted the world as he saw it - through the bars of his room. After discharging himself, Van Gogh's final days were spent in Auvers-sur-Oise, where he was to create his last great work Wheatfield With Crows, which also features in the museum. His suicide took place in the very fields that surrounded the town, lending even more weight the ominous air of his ultimate piece.

A look at the museum from the back. The perfect place for a picnic!

Perhaps fittingly, the museum itself is something of a work of art. It was designed by Gerrit Rietveld, the famous De Stijl architect, and its glass walls provide perfect viewing conditions for the exhibits. The complimentary Exhibition Wing was added by Kisho Kurokawa in 1999 and is used to display temporary collections by Van Gogh's contemporaries, such as Gauguin and Monet. Detailed information accompanies each individual work, and guided and audio tours are also available.
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