B&A’s Benelux Journal

November 1, 2016

Moved to Tears

Filed under: Uncategorized — B @ 2:58 pm

Over the past two days, two very different museums formed some of the most profound experiences in my travels, in my life. It is hard to bring me to tears, so my experiences were unexpected and powerful. The first was the In Flanders Fields museum in Ypres, Belgium, which in addition to triggering a powerful emotional response (reading the poem in context kicked it off and several other items in the exhibits were subsequent triggers) also caused me to deeply and existentially question on all fronts my positions on war. Never before have I so deeply pored over every word in a museum, and I thank this museum greatly both for honoring these people and for giving me cause to think deeply.

The second was the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Vincent was very close to his brother Theo, who kept him afloat financially and supported his art throughout his life. After Vincent’s death - the culmination of tumultuous mental illness - Theo pledged to advocate vor Vincent’s art and get it the audience it deserved (Vincent only sold one painting in his entire life), but Theo died six months later. Theo’s widow took up his cause, and thanks to her tireless efforts, the world knows Vincent Van Gogh’s art. Her son has kept up the crusade, and the museum’s existence is due to his efforts.

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