Thursday, 20 January 2022

Michaelangelo and Van Gogh Visit Brisbane

 October 18, 2021

We are very fortunate here in Brisbane with the depth of entertainment and culture available to us. 

In October, a unique exhibition of the greatest masterpieces of Michelangelo arrived. The Sistine Chapel pieces were displayed lifesize, in an old, renovated icecream factory. The exhibition was produced using state-of-the-art technology. Audio headsets were available to describe the pieces and the process of how Michelangelo created these masterpieces in the high Sistine Chapel.

November 9, 2021

Whilst I really enjoyed the Michelangelo Exhibition, the Van Gogh exhibition a month later, at a different venue, had me not wanting to leave and had it been possible, returning to once again immerse myself in his timeless pieces.

This exhibition was not a still display of his artwork, but a multi-sensory experience. From entering the building, to exiting, we were surrounded by a vibrant symphony of light, colour, sound and animation.

 [Grande Experince's Sensory 4TM system combined multi-channel motion graphics beamed via up to 40 high definition projectors with cinema-quality surround sound.]

 Over 3000  inspirational images of Van Gogh's paintings were projected onto the walls `transforming every surface. The projections took us through the journey of Van Gogh's life - Netherlands, Arles, St Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise. Being surrounded totally by these masterpieces was the most amazing experience. Interspersed photographs of quotes by Van Gogh, heightened this feeling. 

How true is this quote?

My short video may give you a small indication of what we enjoyed!    

We entered gallery through a mirrored room lit by strings of dangling fairy lights . The floor and ceiling were filled with brushstroke swirls, mirroring Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'.

Wonderful, but stepping into the vast Grand Pavilion was truly mesmerising! 

The pavilion was a purpose-built, 25,000 square foot venue, built in Germany. The huge screens and sections of the floor, projected images, excerpts from his letters and writing, his musings on life and art, and brief snippets of information introducing each location and their place in Van Gogh's life. We came away knowing more about his life, his illness and his death, and with an even greater respect for his painting.

The images were timed to the evocative classical score, and the animation added not only to the transitions, but to the paintings themselves. Petals fell across 'Almond Blossoms. Stars shot across the swirls of 'Starry Night' and a trains moved through the countryside.

The auditorium was broken into sections via seemingly floating walls, set at different angles. We were free to wander or sit as we wanted. The presentation took 45 mins but we were free to stay as long as we wished. It was difficult to tear ourselves away after the 2nd viewing, but alas we had made a booking for dinner.

The following photos are in the order in which I took them.

On leaving the main auditorium we entered a field of projected sunflowers, before making our final exit. Night had settled over Brisbane on the horizon. Pots of sunflowers waved in the evening breeze.

A truely special evening.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. That Van Gogh exhibit is beyond belief wonderful.

    1. Totally agree, Bill.
      It certainly opened my eyes to his prolific painting and difficult life.

  2. One of the world’s treasures, the works of Van Gogh! That exhibit is exceptional. I would love to see it for sure. One can dream…

  3. Marie it is wonderful that his art can be seen by so many more through this production and the cost was was quite reasonable.
    The classical music added many spine tingling moments as a new image appeared.

  4. How wonderful! I've always wanted to take an art history class to learn more about the artwork and the artists.

  5. Thank you for sharing your photos and experiences with these exhibits! They were in Calgary but I did not attend. Art has always been an interest of mine. I took an art history course while at university and I remember years later even purchasing a book full of works by Van Gogh.

    1. What a shame you missed it. I most probably would have too, if not for my wonderful friend and ticket purchaser, Jocelyn.

  6. WOW! That Van Gogh exhibit looks phenomenal. As you might imagine, the quote that most struck me was: "If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere." The starry night, sunflowers and country scenes were among my favorites of your shots.

  7. I love this quote too. Some, relating to him and his painting, were quite sad.

  8. Wonderful. Even though his paintings and the way they were presented must have been mesmerising, it's the quotes that have stuck in my mind. He was so much more than just a great artist. A creative yet troubled soul.