One of a kind Van Gogh exhibit brings art to life in a unique way

“I dream my paintings and I paint my dreams.” Walking into Austin’s new Beyond Van Gogh exhibit, one is greeted with this quote from the artist. Indeed the exhibit does feel like a dream, an interactive journey through the exquisite paintings as has never been experienced before. This display of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces through modern technology will inspire the next generation of art lovers. 

The Van Gogh museum is presented in three rooms, each providing detailed insight to the artist’s life and a presentation of his work. In the first stage of the exhibition, quotes and summaries are on display, sharing the history of Van Gogh’s life. 

Born in 1853, Vincent Van Gogh grew up in a deeply religious household, believing that he would one day follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pastor. After finding preaching unsatisfactory, he tried out several different professions before realizing he truly wanted to be an artist. He began his career by studying in Belgium, but moved to Paris to live near his brother Theo, who he was close with. While Theo worked as an art dealer, Vincent began painting; Impressionism and pointillism, a method of creating a picture using dots of paint, were two prominent techniques during his time. 

After a failed attempt at founding an art school with a close colleague, Van Gogh cut off part of his ear. Following this incident he suffered from madness and admitted himself to an asylum. In fact, one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, Starry Night, was inspired by his view from the asylum window. 

The final two rooms showcase paintings in a creative way. Instead of small framed originals, the art is brightly projected by screens on the floor and walls. As you walk through the exhibit, the art develops before you, slowly building layer upon layer to the well-known works we know so well. The digital presentation is structured in themes, transitioning between portraits, landscapes, and flowers. I particularly loved how the digital exhibition allowed the people to wink at us from the artwork, or how the painted petals fell in the wind, while trees swayed in the landscape pieces. This method of display transports us to Paris, introduces us to The Potato Eaters, and gives us a seat on the Cafe Terrace

It is almost as if we have a front row seat to watching Starry Night being created, a view into Van Gogh’s mind. I loved that the art started out as a sketch, and added paint and rich colors to complete the masterpiece. I felt like I could understand the art more thoroughly because I was watching the process Van Gogh went through to build his truly great work. It is a study not only of the art itself, but of the creator, his life and his writings. 

This may very well be the future of art exhibition. Rather than going to a prestigious museum, families are now able to see this art close to home. Instead of squinting at the original paintings enclosed in frames, the art is blown up into the world around you and is brought to life. Even for individuals who have not previously been interested in art, I would recommend an exhibit like this. This exhibition turns traditional art collections on their heads and creates a completely innovative way of seeing classic art. I would say it educates about history and art equally. 

The exhibit left me with a sense of inspiration. Van Gogh said himself, “If one truly loves nature, one finds beauty everywhere.” Art sparks a special gratitude for life, because it gives us a chance to appreciate and reflect on the beauty in the ordinary things it showcases. Although we may face numerous challenges, just as Van Gogh did, we must remember to find beauty in the little details of our day.