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Review: Immersive Van Gogh in Toronto (Digital Art Exhibit)

Interested in a rich digital interactive art experience? Check out this new exhibit in Toronto, Immersive Van Gogh

The exhibit runs until January 3, 2021 – for more information scroll to end of article.

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most beloved, well known and influential artists and painters from the 1800’s. His paintings are the most recognized and renowned in the world. From his Starry Night to his Sunflowers and Irises and numerous self-portraits, there is hardly anyone in the Western world who does not know who he is or recognize one of his beautiful paintings.

Sadly, and tragically it was not that way in his lifetime. He died at the age of 37 from his own hand of a gunshot wound, penniless and suffering from mental illness and depression which he had experienced throughout his adult life. He was infamously known as well for cutting off part of his ear during one of his illnesses. While his life ended tragically he left behind beautiful paintings, a large body of 2100 artworks, including 860 oil paintings which he created in the last two years of his life. In 2017, his painting Worker in a Field sold for US $81 million. Tragically it was only after his death that he achieved widespread critical, commercial and popular success.

“Sunflowers” is the name of two series of still life paintings by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. created in Paris in 1887, a year later in Arles.
Photo by Donna Chong.

Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853. He was very close to his brother Theo who supported him financially and corresponded with him through letters. At the age of 28 in 1881 he took up painting, moved to Paris in 1886 and met other artists such as Paul Gauguin. It was when he moved to Arles in 1888 in the south of France that his paintings were fully realized, suffused with colour and light and the style that he is known for. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam holds the world’s largest collection of his paintings and drawings. The AGO in Toronto has one of his paintings, Woman with a Spade seen from Behind and the National Gallery in Ottawa has 4 of his paintings.

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, 1887
Photo by Donna Chong.

Now Immersive Van Gogh, a digital immersive exhibition put on by Lighthouse Immersive, brings the paintings of Van Gogh to life on a grand scale. The show is extended till Jan. 3rd and there is both a drive in and a walk-in experience. The show “evokes the highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness of one of the greatest artists of all time through an all-encompassing experience of art, sound, light, movement and imagination.” The show includes 40 of Van Gogh’s paintings and is a creative, imaginative, visually mesmerizing animation of his paintings projected on high walls up to the ceiling and on the floors of a 600,000 cubic foot space. It is accompanied by a beautifully moving musical score.

The show fulfills its promise to immerse you in Van Gogh’s beautiful paintings and artwork. It is a timed show booked online that is 30 minutes in length however you can stay for as long as you want. Tickets start at $34.99. Safety has been provided for with mandatory masks and socially distanced circles for the walk-in version. In a new first innovation in the year of Covid, a drive-in version is also available where you can view the show from the safety of your car. The walk-in version is the more immersive experience of the 2 without the barrier and confines of the car separating and distancing you. In the walk-in experience, there is an elevated viewing platform but moving to the ground level, we found the experience on the floor was more immersive and the scale much grander from below.

The Starry Night is an oil on canvas painted in June 1889. It depicts the view from the window of his asylum room in southern France, just before sunrise, with an imaginary village.
Photo by Donna Chong.

There are some incredibly memorable moments in the show such as the transition from the black and white intro section with the bees buzzing to the sudden burst of colour and light. It was stunning with the whole space flooded with sunlight. Starry Night, arguably Vincent’s most famous painting, is beautifully animated with the star circles appearing and twinkling and vanishing again. The use of shooting stars in the night sky is very effective as well. The later scenes of the hospital are very sombre and moving. This is where Vincent spent time during his illnesses. The show ends as it began with the self portrait of Vincent, hat on with candles burning. Slowly, one by one, each candle is snuffed out. Vincent’s life ended much too early.

Go and see Immersive Van Gogh before it ends in January 2021. You will be amazed and moved by the grand scale, the innovation, the music and most of all, the beauty of the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest artists to have lived.

Thank you to the organizers and staff for providing us complementary passes.

For more information:


Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
c/o Lighthouse Immersive
1 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M5E 1W7

Ticket prices:
start at $39.99

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