Friday, October 25, 2013

Intermission in Dutch Symphony

 7:20am Amsterdam Schinpol

The full moon, as bright as your smile, was profiled against the dark velvet sky. I have a few hours before transferring a train to Tilburg. Having checked luggage at the station, I got into a fine stride to -- van Gogh museum, THE place I want to go anytime in Amsterdam. Without the camera, the bag, even not the purse,  I brought with me cellphone, cash, a green pen and a scratch pad. Hands off, and I am as free as a morning jogger.

Even freer is my mind and imagination, especially immersed in paintings. I ever visited here five years ago, knowing little and wrote a wiki-style article afterwards (van Gogh). Three months later, I visited his paintings again at MOMA, NYC (Hi! Vincent) Ever since then Vincent and his paintings become an integral part of my life.

Now the museum is showing a special exhibition, Van Gogh at work. It fascinated me to see how a great painter 'stole' skills and inspirations from nature and fellows and eventually created his own style. Below are Van Gogh's reinterpretation on other people's paintings. As you can see, form and content are by other painters, but Van Gogh has added color.




Let there be light. Let there be color! Yet in all his paintings color equals energy and power and passion. Whenever I see his paintings I feel the pulsation in between the brushstrokes. That's my secret source of invigoration.

I was suddenly seized by a whim. We economists write black-white papers. Could we also add color to an academic paper? Beyond confirming an evidence or testing a hypothesis or showing how important our work could be, isn't it more fun to deliver a passionate believe behind words? Eventually, all time-tested good work -- painting, singing, music works -- seem to be "effortless," though after unknown and innumerable effort. Should not a real valuable paper at least try to achieve the 'effortless' state? 

I obviously has overthought, an integral mark of a pseudo-economist. I would better be stupid. Hasn't Gustave Flauber ever said that?

To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost. --Gustave Flauber


4:30pm Tilburg University Train Station

A fruitful conference comes to the end. My presentation was the last one. I happened to be told in yesterday's dinner that Bosch's hometown was about 20min train from Tilburg. Oh, Bosch! Such a cliche to say how I admire his works. I love him. I won't miss this opportunity. So, here am I in the Tilburg University station, immediately after the conference.

This is a gamble. I jumped on the train to 's-Hertogenbosch (Bosch's town) and arrived there around 5pm. Grabbed a taxi yet I did not know how long the trip takes to Bosch museum. At every red light stop, I was praying yet I also told myself that even if I have missed, -- the Bosch museum closes at 5:30pm -- at least I have no regret. Mercy! The taxi stopped in front of the Bosch chapel at 5:19pm. The administrator initially refused to let me in, then she has pity on my effort saying, "ok, 10min!"

At the reprint of "The Garden of Earthly Delights," my tears held no longer... Rising in my heart then is Gabriel Faure's requiem, Pie Jesu.



Photographed by Jennie Bai.
       Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

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