An artist born on 30 March, 1853, in Zundert, a small agricultural town in the south of The Netherlands, inherited a surname that is now as nearly recognisable as it is mispronounced. If you guessed Vincent van Gogh, you guessed correctly. Interestingly, at an early age, Van Gogh noticed the wide disparity between his comfortable middle-class upbringing and that of the often poverty-stricken working class. This fascination with the simple “ordinariness” of life and its accompanying hardship would later reveal itself as a theme in his work. Van Gogh left school at 16 and began working for an art dealership, Goupil et Ice, during which time he acquired an enduring passion for painting, as well as a familiarity with the prices fetched by the popular paintings of the day.

In 1880, at the age of 27, Van Gogh finally turned to art as a profession after a tumultuous and uncertain period during his early-20s. Inspired by the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism movements, the young painter was heavily influenced by the well known names of the time, including Monet, Pissarro, Bernard and Gauguin. Upon finally finding his calling, the wholly self-taught artist worked with urgency and intensity to become one of the most prolific of his time. In a 10-year span, Van Gogh created a jaw-dropping 2,000 works, including 930 paintings and some 1,100 drawings. Unbelievably, the painting ‘The Red Vineyard’ was the only piece to have knowingly been sold during his lifetime – in 1890, for 400 francs, the current equivalent of around AU$2,445. Exactly 100 years later, in 1990, Van Gogh’s ‘Portrait of Doctor Gachet’ sold for an astounding US$82.5 million! Arguably from this point onward, “Vincent van Gogh” was cemented as a household name.

Having opened on November 1 of this year, THE LUME – Australia’s and the Southern Hemisphere’s first permanently housed multi-sensory digital art gallery – presents its inaugural experience to the ever-so-fortunate Melbourne public, a truly epic adventure into the life and works of Vincent van Gogh. THE LUME’s mission statement is simple, innovative and clearly outlined within the following question: “Why tiptoe through silent art galleries to view masterpieces from afar when you can be immersed in the world of the artist instead?” This is an enticing question, to say the least. This full-immersion perspective is an opportunity for visitors to have all of their senses ignited and delighted as van Gogh’s works are brought to life as unfathomably scaled masterpieces projected onto walls, columns, floors, even onto visitors, themselves. Consider, as well, that THE LUME is a 3,000m² space topped by 11m-high ceilings, so participants are guaranteed to have never experienced the Dutch Master’s creations even remotely like this. A reimagining of 3,000 paintings, sketches, letters and archive photos is woven together with stunning musical soundscapes, evocative aromas and perfectly curated food and beverage offerings compliments of Café Terrace 1888. Each and every art history-defining brushstroke is available with which to get up close and personal, encouraging fresh and unique perspectives and providing the opportunity to become a living part of the collection.

THE LUME, Melbourne

VISIT THE LUME

THE LUME, Melbourne

VISIT THE LUME

THE LUME, Melbourne

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It is crucial to remember that, unlike conventional and often stuffy museums, there is absolutely no need for quiet as this exhibition is traversed. On the contrary, THE LUME intends the interactivity to be marked by exploring, dancing, playing and marvelling. In other words, any celebration of creativity should be performed creatively. For those of you who consider yourselves to be uncomfortable with any public display of enjoyment, worry not; the bold and vibrant symphony of light, colour and captivating imagery that greets you upon entry will ensure that any vestige of shyness and/or self-consciousness remains checked at the door. The Vincent van Gogh experience is available for a limited run only, so time is of the essence. THE LUME is open seven days a week and is located in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in the city’s South Warf precinct. Bookings are recommended. 

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