Be Part of a Masterpiece at Van Gogh Alive Lisbon

Van Gogh Alive walls

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.

Van Gogh Alive ceiling and walls

Pale blossoms at Van Gogh Alive

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!


Van Gogh Alive river

Van Gogh Alive irises

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.

Sunflowers at Van Gogh Alive

Gorgeous Van Gogh Alive

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.

Van Gogh Alive Lisbon

Van Gogh Alive child art


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!

Van Gogh Alive exhibit

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  • Dave Farrell
    July 24, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Stary Night is my favorite painting. It is a perfect depiction of an ideal night in a city. Bright and exciting with his ever present sense of melancholy.

  • S
    July 24, 2017 at 9:29 am

    His self portrait is my favourite painting. Its the closest I can get to looking him the eyes.

  • Mariana Letras
    July 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Como é possível estar tão longe e tão actualizada com o que se passa em Lisboa?
    Está cá de ferias?
    Eu gosto imenso do Van Gogh , mas ainda não tive oportunidade de ir ver. Uma prima minha diz que só lhe apetecia ficar lá na exposição mais horas pois é relaxante…

    • aportugueseaffair
      July 25, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Sim, estou cá de férias e concordo com a sua prima. Concorra (é só dizer qual é a sua obra preferida do Van Gogh e porquê) para ganhar dois bilhetes. Boa sorte!

  • Paula
    July 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    My favourite is Stary Night. I did have the opportunity to see it in NYC. Love the colours he used and serenity i felt when looking at it. Currently in Lisbon but leaving on July 28th.

  • Gail at Large
    July 25, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Don’t tell me we went on the same day! I was there on Saturday afternoon.

    • aportugueseaffair
      July 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      That’s when I went too! Haha!

  • Ana Manao
    July 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    The Starry Night is my favourite because it has such a cosmic, mystical, and spiritual feel to it.

  • Kev Harrison
    July 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    This is going to sound weird but my favourite is sunflowers, because I saw it on a school trip when I was a too-cool teenager and sneered at it, saying a kid could have done it. Then, a quite brilliant gallery attendant, rather than scold me, took the time to talk to me about the techniques used to achieve it, pulling me right up close to it to make her point and left me feeling A) rather foolish and B) far more engaged in fine art than I’d been at any time up to then. 😊

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