This summer I had the pleasure of spending a week with Ken Schwaber in Amsterdam. I attended Scrum Training from Ken, the co-founder of Scrum, and the single person responsible for it's world-wide proliferation in a mostly-pure format.
Amsterdam was amazing. Vondel park, canal rides, cuisine, street performers and especially the wonderful friendly people.
Was is the Rijksmuseum, or the Van Gogh Museum my family told me to be sure to visit? Between seeing many of the other sites there was only time left to visit one or the other. I found myself at the Van Gogh Museum. Vincent Van Gogh was, of course, a famous painter who lived sometime ago and left many paintings all over northern Europe before his passing. I remember my brother once said "If you can figure out why Van Gogh is so highly acclaimed let me know because I just can't see it." I've seen high-school work better than his.
The first floor of the Van Gogh museum is inspiring. I walked in and was greeted with paintings of seashores, forests, people laboring, and other personally relateable depictions of my own world and the scenery around us. As I read the captions on the pictures one by one I discovered they were not painted by Van Gogh, but instead they were his contemporary artist buddies who inspired his work. I have to admit they were pretty cool and I enjoyed the ground floor.
The sign at the bottom of the steps read "Van Gogh Upstairs." My girlfriend and I proceed upstairs.
At the top of the stairs I saw the walls decorated with Van Gogh painting. There was this blurry stick thing with a bean or something on it. I couldn't really tell for sure. Another picture looked like a bush with flowers except maybe Vincent fell asleep before he completed the painting.
They said Van Gogh painted all through Europe...thousands of paintings and that it was his primary activity until his death. He lived several different places and painted the whole time.
I kept waiting for the paintings to improve. We wandered around the second and third floors like lost mice in a labyrinth trying to find the good stuff. I figured the first painting we saw would have been his first and they weren't that great. Well, I was right. The only problem was the rest of his paintings weren't any more appealing.
The most renown painting on display was The Potato Eaters. Van Gogh, seemingly inspired by Whistler's Mother must have had a premonition of her long lost African foster parents when he painted that piece.
After and hour and a half I stared into a nervous breakdown and had to get myself and my girl out of the place--fast. I can't explain it. I just felt like I was standing there with hundreds of other foreigners who had paid a premium to see some dead guys rotten work--and all of us were pretending to like the stuff.
If ravel to Amsterdam--and I highly recommend it--go to the Rijksmuseum.