Think of suffering for your art and the quintessential tortured artist and 19th Century painter Vincent Van Gogh immediately springs to mind. Opened in 1973, The Van Gogh Museum showcases the largest collection of the prolific Dutch artist's works in the world including over 200 authentic paintings, 437 drawings and 31 prints spanning five distinct periods over a decade.
Until 25 April, 2013, renovations to the Van Gogh Museum means 75 of the artist's paintings, letters, drawings and personal objects are temporarily housed within Hermitage Amsterdam. The Van Gogh Mile is a 30-minute interactive walk designed by artist Henk Schut from the Van Gogh Musuem to the Hermitage Amsterdam which explores the themes of Van Gogh's letters. You can also take the Hop on, Hop off bus three stops from the Museumsplein. The temporary exhibit at Hermitage Amsterdam includes well-known pieces such as Sunflowers, The bedroom, Almond blossom and The yellow house. These iconic paintings provide an insight into the artist and explore the themes of his work through the various styles and techniques he employed. Recurring themes of his paintings which had personal resonance include an interest in the technical side of his craft, the effects of colour and inspiration from nature.
And that infamous ear-lopping episode? During his stay in Arles in France, Van Gogh suffered a psychotic episode where he threatened fellow artist Paul Gaugin with a razor before severing a piece of his own left ear. After his discharge from an asylum, Van Gogh struggled to get back on track but, despite recurrent lapses, he managed to produce 150 paintings, including masterpieces such as Irises, during his voluntary admission at Saint-Remy psychiatric hospital. Eventually he succumbed to depression and shot himself after completing his iconic work, Wheatfield with Crows, dying two days later in Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, on 29 July, 1890.
Art aficionados, however, remember Vincent Van Gogh as a post-impressionist renowned for his signature brushstroke style, saturation of colour and honest beauty. Entrance to Vincent, The Van Gogh Museum in the Hermitage Amsterdam on Amstel 51 is €15 for adults and free for children aged 17 and under and open from Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00.