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Van Gogh Exhibit in Los Angeles

Making its grand debut on July 31, 2021, The Vincent van Gogh exhibit located in Los Angeles, California has all the bells and whistles that bring you into the artist’s short-lived, but much-speculated life with his all too familiar paintings and a few you may have never heard of. What the creators Massimiliano Siccardi and Luca Longobardi have done are a whole lot more than just ‘picture frame on a wall; nod silently and move on.’ It is a prestigious assortment of art, music, visual effects, and immersive theater that Massimiliano Siccardi has had in the works for nearly three decades.

What to expect when walking through

The museum starts you off with a slideshow projector of Van Gogh’s humble beginnings up to the point in his life where he started making his art that you would soon be presented with. The combination of the slideshow images along with the haunting music ricocheting from ear-to-ear will bombard most senses and captivate you into wanting more. The creator, Massimiliano Siccardi, did this to help you understand what it must be like be for Van Gogh himself.

Is it presented in chronological order? Yes, and no. There are fourteen segments; van Gogh’s Stations of the Cross, as it were. And though the overall arc of the presentation passes through the major places of van Gogh’s career – Antwerp, Paris, Arles – the paintings do not necessarily appear when they were created. Rather, it is as though we see them when they emerge from van Gogh’s consciousness, at a particular point in time. And when is that point? Could it be in the last moments of the artist’s life? Or during the day-to-day struggle, that existence became for him in his final years? Perhaps the answer can be found in van Gogh’s own words, “I dream my painting, and I paint my dream.”

Immersive van Gogh doesn’t begin at the start of the artist’s life, not immediately, at any rate. What anyone can expect from the first moments of the museum are you are plunged into a world of yellow, the color van Gogh employed with increasing frequency in the final years of his life. A color that, in Siccardi’s words, “breaks forth like an epiphany, appears and disappears inside his mind like a memory recorded only on canvas.”

And then, we are in the Netherlands, where Vincent Willem van Gogh was born to a strict, Dutch reformed family on March 30th, 1853. Named after his grandfather and most tellingly, a brother who was stillborn a year to the day before Vincent’s birth. Although drawn to art at an early age, van Gogh tried to please his family by immersing himself in business, then religion, working as a missionary in the Belgian coal mines, but failing at all he tried. This period in his life came to an end around his thirty-second birthday when his father died and his fiancé attempted suicide. Van Gogh said goodbye to the stifling atmosphere he had endured all these years and painted his first great canvas, The Potato Eaters, as a summation of all that helped to form him, for better
or worse. After a frustrating year studying at The Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, van Gogh finally broke away to Paris where he moved in with his younger brother, Theo, who was to be his financial and emotional support for most of his remaining life. Siccardi sees Paris in van Gogh’s life as not only a destination but the symbol of a journey of personal growth.

What would Van Go be if he were still alive? Maybe a Los Angeles Web Design specialist… 

Final words

Siccardi concludes that the lasting power of van Gogh’s work is that we are witnesses to a life filled with passion and unstoppable desire, and we abandon ourselves into this timeless beauty.