Immersed in Van Gogh

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives
and we obey them without realizing it.
– Vincent van Gogh

3D bust of the artist with light and shadows playing across his face

I spent a short while immersed in the world of Van Gogh (visiting Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience) and what I come away with is profound sense of contrasts…

-glories of nature against dark anguish of the human soul
-wholesome serenity of pastoral life against psychosis and extreme loneliness
-wonder at scientific evidence that a man who used so much color so brilliantly was likely color-blind

I stood in a dark room illuminated by his swirling sunflowers, floating bursts of fiery light. This is the flower most associated with happiness; the tortured artist loved them. His doctor-friend planted them on his grave.

I took a virtual journey from the bedroom at Arles past the bright wheatfields where crows lazily took flight, through the peaceful woods (Van Gogh loved long walks in the woods) into the village where fireflies danced around lampposts, to the riverside of the Rhone, where the stars gleamed above… the journey ended with rising into the stars and landing back in the bedroom at Arles where the floor, walls, bed, stand with pitcher and basin, straw hat, and strewn paint supplies materialized around me. I know Van Gogh’s famous quote about painting his dream but the quote that lingers is this: Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.

You are so right, Vincent. So right.

And so we paint our lives.

Immersed in swirling sunflowers

3D rendering of “The Vestibule,” in the Saint Paul De Mausole Asylum

Short clip: Scenes of Van Gogh’s self-portraits set to music

7 thoughts on “Immersed in Van Gogh

  1. Thanks for your post. It reminded me of how thoroughly enjoyed the Van Gogh experience. I was amazed at the technology of the immersion. Watching the other people, especially the kids, experience it was almost as cool as the actual exhibit. You are literally in the picture and can enjoy it on so many levels. At times joyful and at times very emotional and sad knowing that he had this talent but never experienced the appreciation and fame.


  2. Fran, what beauty in the immersive Van Gogh experience! You capture the feeling so well, and I love that you used one of his quotes to make us think. We saw this in Atlanta when it came, and we were mesmerized by this new approach to art, the way it surrounded us and held us captive on the carpeted floor for an hour. It’s like the art gallery came to us and wrapped us in a blanket. Such beautiful writing! You have a gift for capturing the moment!


  3. Fran, this experience sounds really amazing. It is evident you took advantage of all the learning opportunities. I never knew there was evidence that Van Gogh was color blind. That really makes me have even more questions. So interesting.


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