Vincent Van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists, with his iconic self-portraits, starry landscapes and sunflowers. But a far less popular painting has become the subject of an immersive Van Gogh experience.
The Potato Eaters is one of Van Gogh’s least-liked pieces of work, with its bleak palette, dark shadows and cartoonishly grotesque. But the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery is giving it the credit it deserves by creating an experience that means people can ‘live’ in the painting. The gallery has created a replica of the cottage depicted in the piece so Van Gogh fans can visit and step directly into the painting. Missing the buzz of your favourite gallery? Why not check out our roundup of the best online art galleries.
It is argued by critics that this is Van Gogh’s worst painting as it’s far from conventionally beautiful. And even the Van Gogh museum was asking whether this was a ‘masterpiece or a mistake’ in the title of the exhibition (we aren’t exactly smitten with the piece, but we think calling it a mistake is a little harsh). Despite the critique of the public, Van Gogh wrote to his sister and explained that, “The painting of the peasants eating potatoes that I did in Nuenen is after all the best thing I did.” according to The Art Newspaper.
The experience means that you can wander about a replica of the room in the dingy cottage and sit at the replica table that the potato eaters sit at in the painting. And as much as we love how interactive this is experience is, we can’t help but feel like this is a little weird as it’s almost like sitting in Van Gogh’s headspace.
This isn’t the first time we have seen one of Van Gogh’s paintings as a 4D experience for people to immerse themselves in. The exhibition Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in London also recreated one of his paintings, but this time it was his childhood bedroom that he painted from the psychiatric ward. And while it was amazing to see the painting come to life, we feel like it was fairly invasive and it was a little unnerving to stand in, essentially, Van Gogh’s mind.
The experience has fans divided, and many have commented on the Instagram that the Van Gogh Gallery has posted of the replica cottage. One commented, “I think you’ve just made a great mistake,” whereas another commented, “So cosy!”. Fans over on Twitter however seem to like the idea of this totally immersive experience.
looks like I gotta book a trip to Amsterdam https://t.co/DdrQSOPbokNovember 2, 2021
What a creative way to experience and share Van Gogh’s work! #jhumda https://t.co/5LbqD3soekNovember 2, 2021
We personally think that delving deep into the mind of Van Gogh in this way, would be interesting but also fairly unnerving. Perhaps if we did end up exploring the gallery in Amsterdam, we’d avoid taking selfies in it because we feel like that wasn’t Van Gogh’s original intention with the painting. If you’re feeling inspired by Van Gogh and his unconventional potato eaters painting, and want to have a go yourself, then check out our super handy guide on all the art supplies you need to begin. Or if you are really wanting to hone in on the Van Gogh in you, check out our roundup of the best oil paint supplies, or find the best easel for painting.