I’ve always been fascinated with the beauty of Van Gogh’s paintings, especially The Starry Night and Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum. So when I was invited to attend a larger-than-life, interactive Van Gogh exhibition in Lisbon, I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about. Van Gogh Alive is not regular art exhibition in a stuffy old museum, it’s a sensory-packed experience that actually allows you to become part of a masterpiece and experience Van Gogh’s art in a completely different way. It has traveled to 30 European capitals before making it to Lisbon. If you’re planning on visiting Lisbon before the end of August, keep reading for a chance to win a pair of tickets to this truly unique experience.
If you’re looking for a normal museum experience – a quiet setting with art displayed against plain backdrops and a label telling you the name of the artist, the work and the date – you’ll have to look elsewhere because you’ll hate Van Gogh Alive. The aim of Van Gogh Alive is to, well, bring the art alive. That means a full, sensory experience where art is enlarged to take up entire walls (and ceilings and floors, in this case). Parts of the paintings and sketches move: it’s pretty magical when you see the crows in Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows come off the painting and fly across the walls. It adds a whole other dimension to the story of the art. Van Gogh Alive works with the SENSORY4 system, which uses “40 high definition projectors, multi-channel motion graphics and cinema quality surround sound” – no wonder it’s such a dynamic and immersive experience!
The sensory experience doesn’t stop there; carefully-selected music combines the visual with the auditory. Unlike a traditional art exhibition, quotes by the artist (in Portuguese and English) are displayed on the walls alongside the paintings, sketches, and early photos of 19th century Netherlands. You learn about the artist’s troubled life through some of the quotes and stories that are displayed amongst the artwork but also through a little side area that gives more information about some of his most famous works.
So where exactly are you when all this is happening around you? You’ll find most visitors sitting on bean bags, or laying down, on the floors, looking upwards and around them. It’s actually a very enjoyable and relaxing experience that gets you to stop and take in the art and music around you. Children can be seen looking at and touching the displays on the screens on the floor or the walls. The space is definitely kid-friendly – even the ticket area has a wall for children to draw on (a touch I absolutely loved!). It’s a really fun way to get children to enjoy classic art with you. Visitors are invited to move along at their own pace and explore and stay as long as they wish. I probably would’ve stayed there all afternoon, sitting on a bean bag and taking the whole thing in.
Sounds pretty cool, right? So how do you win tickets, you ask? I’m giving away 5 pairs of tickets (worth €24 each pair) to some lucky readers! All you need to do is comment in the comments section below, stating which Van Gogh painting is your favorite and why. Five winners will be selected at random and will each receive two tickets to Van Gogh Alive in Lisbon (tickets are no redeemable for cash and cannot be transferred to another person). The deadline for commenting below is by July 28th, 2017 at 5 pm (EST). Good luck!