The 5 most surprising works in the museum quarter in Amsterdam
1) Van Gogh's Last Painting
Wheatfield with Crows (1890) was long considered Vincent van Gogh’s last painting before he committed suicide. It depicts a dead end, a darkening sky, a harbinger of things to come. Now experts consider Tree Roots (1890) a likelier candidate. They say his death explains the irregular, unfinished appearance of the painting. Both works are on display in the museum.
2) Japanese Temple Guards
The Rijksmuseum is known for its many iconic paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. But the museum’s vast permanent collection spans centuries of global history. Recently two statues that once guarded the entrance of a 14th-century Japanese temple were added to the Asia galleries. Their purpose was to keep evil out – hence their ferocious looks.
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3) Hugo Grotius' Book Chest
The exceptionally gifted, 17th-century legal scholar Hugo Grotius – or Hugo de Groot – ended up embroiled in a conflict between the civil and religious authorities. He was sentenced to life-long imprisonment as a result, but managed to escape on 22 March 1621. It is believed he did so in the wooden book chest that is on display in the Rijksmuseum.
4) The Kazimir Malevich Collection
The Stedelijk Museum has a large collection of paintings, drawings and sketches by the Russian futurist Kazimir Malevich. The collection was amassed by the Russian writer and art collector Nikolai Khardzhiev, who personally knew many of the Futurists. His collection found its way to Amsterdam in the 1990s.
5) The Beanery by Edward Kienholz
The coolest part of The Beanery (1965) by the American artist Edward Kienholz is that you can actually step inside of it. The work is a remake of the artist’s favourite bar in Los Angeles. He copied the bottles, posters, the jukebox and even the bar. Everything looks real, except for the people who are all acquaintances of the artist. They have clocks instead of faces.
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