Van Gogh Alive in Florence

Van Gogh self portrait

It has been a very Italian year for Van Gogh with a fabulous exhibition in Milan  with some of his most famous paintings.  I didn’t get to see that but instead saw him ‘Alive’ in Florence at the deconsecrated church of Santa Stefano in a wonderful multi media experience. Van Gogh starry nights

As the blurb read “forty high definition projectors, multi channel motion graphics and cinema quality surround sound – resulting in one of the most exciting multi-screen environments in the world” It was a fantastic explosion of colours, enveloping the church and the audience, changing moods and music to recreate the most important periods in Van Gogh’s life. Van Gogh’s words captivating us all, taking us into his mind, his world, his art, his passions and his torments.

Santa Stefano altarVan Gogh irises

Some art purists were critical of the presentation, as it is more an ‘event’ than an exhibition, yet a provocative immersion and a new approach to understanding and appreciating the beautiful works of Art of Van Gogh.

We were enchanted, enraptured, we moved with him through his life, transported by the music which gave an inkling into his prevailing state of mind.

Santa Stefano church 2

Cherry blossom

Van Gogh JapanHis Japanese phase: “The way to know life is to love many things”


His love of nature and rural life.

PansiesVan Gogh flowers“I dream of painting then I Parispaint my dream.”

“In a certain way I am glad I have not learned painting”


Van Gogh nature 2






The mood changes and we were swept into his paranoia, his suffering, his anguish.Van Gogh fire

“But if it is possible that everything will get better after it has all seemed to go wrong. I am not counting on it, it may never happen”                     

Van Gogh self portrait



“As a suffering creature I cannot be without something greater than I – something that is my life – the power to create.”

Curiously an article appeared recently in “The Guardian” on the connection between mental illness and creativity, implying that “creative people are  25% more likely to carry genes that raise risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.” It seems Van Gogh did not consider his illness such a blessing  writing in a letter “if I could have worked without this accursed disease – what things I might have done.”

A brief video on Van Gogh Alive

And to think Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, and that for a very modest fee. His masterpieces today continue to attract mega figures and even some con artists! Recently a Hong Kong businessman was cheated of his €1 million  in cash, as three con artists, who had agreed to help him sell his Van Gogh painting, swapped the money for blank paper – South China Morning Post 10 June, 2015.

And while many of you may not have been in Florence during the Van Gogh Alive installation, it still may come your way as it is a roving exhibit in Europe, at least, so keep your eyes on the look out for it.

Van Gogh

“I will not live without love”


2 thoughts on “Van Gogh Alive in Florence

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your description of the Van Gogh Alive exhibition. I’d love to have been there. But, alas, as they say, it’s the tyranny of distance that separates our cultures. Your observations, vignettes of life in Italy should be put together in a well-designed collection! They are really worh preserving, Sue!

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