Van Gogh Alive in Cosenza, Calabria

June, 2018

Never one to pass up the chance to an art exhibition, visiting ‘Van Gogh Alive – The Experience’ multimedia travelling exhibition in Cosenza, Calabria is both powerful and memorable.

And following Rome’s exhibition, where better to stage this event than in the new Multimedia Museum in Piazza Bilotti, Cosenza.

Van Gogh Alive – The Experience official trailer.

The official brochure including opening times and pricing.

Having visited several museums in Europe and New York’s MOMA, which hold extensive Van Gogh works and experiencing the ‘real’ art, I was at first a little apprehensive with this multimedia reproduction of the artist’s works.

With many excellent reviews and locals visiting this exhibition, I also read that people from around Italy’s southern region including across from the Ionian Coast, are drawn to this multimedia fantasia.

The venue

Wandering the length of pedestrian Corso Mazzini through the delightful Open Air Museum Bilotti (MAB) displaying all of its beautiful stone and fluid bronze sculptures, a precursor to the exhibition, eventually you venture to the newly renovated Piazza Bilotti.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Piazza Billoti

Snuggled beneath this dazzling white expansive piazza lined with restaurants, bars, Gelaterias, and clothing shops, lies the new Museo Multimediale (Multimedia Museum).

Cosenza’s Mayor, Mario Occhiuto’s vision of 7 years’ ago to build the biggest multimedia museum in Italy for a space to enjoy art, technology, and varying exhibitions, was realised this year with the museum’s opening.

Exhibition’s background

Travelling to Australia, USA, Russia, and finally arriving in Italy, this exhibition developed by Grande Exhibitions (an Australian company) using SENSORY4™ technology, is touring the globe.

Rome saw the exhibition as a great success and finally Calabria gets a taste of this immersive production.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

Running from the 15th May to the 15th September in Cosenza, entry cost is €13.

Lined with explanations and photos of Van Gogh’s works, which takes around twenty minutes to read, is the long narrow corridor that leads to the exhibition’s entry.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Before the multimedia extravaganza – brief history of the artist

The actual multimedia exhibition lasts for only forty minutes.

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

This Dutch Post-Impressionist painter suffered through his short life from severe ailments including epilepsy, Bipolar disorder (modern diagnoses), depression, including poisoning from Thujone (Absinthe) and lead. And later in life, entering mental institutions, prior to his tragic suicide.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Moving self-portrait

Vincent’s life is one of melancholy and tragedy, which is depicted in many paintings through varying stages of his short 37-years of life. Although whilst painting, he believed he was not only making people happy with his work, but that painting also made him feel at peace.

Using colour as his ‘chief symbol of expression’ provides a persuasive and dynamic contrast to his sombre periods in his life.

The experience

The exhibition commences in total blackness, creating an atmospheric mood that can only be paralleled to phases of Van Gogh’s life, where occasionally he faded into obscurity within his own mind.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Almond Blossom

The surrounding multimedia symphony swiftly draws you into a living world of what is, Van Gogh.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Over 30 self-portraits painted between 1886 and 1889

Carefully selected dramatic music with surrounding multimedia, fuses the artist’s work, whilst accentuating the visual continual moving canvases, binding together an emotional multi-sensory experience, which envelopes you constantly.

‘Conscience is a man’s compass’

Famous works and many additional pieces, sprinkled with Vincent’s personal letters, insights to his mind and his failing mental state during the later part of his life, dovetail together to present an impacting and impressive exhibition.

A revolutionary medium and platform to present an artist’s work, whilst engaging and consuming.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
The Drinkers

From his humble beginnings, to life in Paris trying to start an art community, his time in mental institutions, and to his passion for the stars, the exhibition reveals much more than you already may know.

Forty minutes passes much too quickly as you are internalised into the amplified world of moving oils, energetic colours, and an insight to an incredible artist.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
His lesser known work

Van Gogh’s hundreds of letters to his brother Theo, led doctors to believe that he suffered from Hypergraphia. A disorder commonly linked to mania and epilepsy, with the need to write continuously.

Is this label then apt for all great and prolific writers of our time and the past?

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
The artist’s letter

Throughout this post are snippets from Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, which are displayed at the exhibition’s moving canvases in conjunction with paintings, exposing more of the artist’s character.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

Possibly one of Van Gogh’s most famous oils, The Bedroom (Third version: Arles, 1889) in which he uses striking colours to convey the message of simplicity of his own basic bedroom – an effortless concept.

This part of the exhibition pushes the boundaries further by commencing with Van Gogh’s completely empty room, then gradually building elements of the painting into the room, to convincingly create the final work.

I managed to capture only a short part of the creation in this video.

I wonder whether this is the process in which Van Gogh took whilst painting The Bedroom.

‘The way to know life is to love many things.’

More information on times in Cosenza at Van Gogh Alive The Experience and on Vincent van Gogh.

Although the exhibition in Cosenza is not exactly the same as the exhibition’s official Trailer, you are still encompassed in the world or tragedy, darkness, helplessness that Van Gogh experienced and in turn, morphed into his paintings.

‘I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.’

The exhibition is not all dark, as Van Gogh used his trademark vibrant colours to portray another world and to create beauty for all to enjoy. A juxtaposition between his work and personal life.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
The Starry Night

Vincent van Gogh painted almost 900 paintings during the years between 1881 and 1890.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

You can conclude that working at such a feverish pace caused his mental and physical stress. And also short of money, this pace left no time for Van Gogh to secure income from any other source but his art, and so he lived in poverty.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

In one of the many letters to Theo, Van Gogh predicted that his work would be world-famous after his death.

Van Gogh Alive, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Self-portrait with Straw Hat

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.

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35 responses to “Van Gogh Alive in Cosenza, Calabria”

  1. notizie di cronaca dall'italia Avatar

    contenuti super utili.. complimenti

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Mille grazie per il tuo commento e felice che tu abbia trovato utile il mio post.

  2. Cynthia "Cyndi" Hilston Avatar

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Hilston – Author & Blogger and commented:
    Wow, what an amazing experience! I will be visiting New York in a month and will definitely see his artwork at MOMA. I wish I could see this exhibit. Van Gogh is my favorite painter and is an inspiration for many.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the re-blog! Check the link as it may be going to the US.

  3. gillmorris Avatar

    This looks fabulous Nilla. What an incredible painter he was! 🙂 I love visiting exhibitions. It looks like a great venue too 🙂 x

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was a great exhibition, just too short. I learnt a lot about Van Gogh. I have to say, using multimedia is an excellent medium to educate more so than a art gallery I think. 🙂 x

      1. gillmorris Avatar

        I went to a similar one in Bangkok of Caravaggio’s paintings digitally captured and reproduced in HD digital technology. It was fabulous, I will write a post about it when I have time 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Excellent, I would love to read your experience and look forward to your future post. 😉

  4. Patty Avatar

    As a Dutch woman, I know the work of Van Gogh, however didn’t know he wrote so many inspiring and thought provoking thoughts.
    Thank you for sharing this virtual tour, dear Nilla. Beautiful !

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Nor did I Patty until this exhibition, which was an eye-opener to Van Gogh.
      I believe that he wrote around 800 letters to his brother Theo over a period of ten years. Many more thoughts from these letters are displayed throughout the exhibition. And I’ve only captured a few in this post or from what I could remember. It really is a special tribute to Van Gogh. x

  5. karenincalabria Avatar

    I have to admit that I saw that there was a Van Gogh exhibit in Cosenza, but I sort of ignored it, especially because of the virtual aspect, but I’m glad you shared this. I didn’t know about the new multi-media museum in Cosenza and this looks well done. Was there a set itinerary that you walked around to see from screen to screen?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      No set itinerary Karen. You wander around the space for the 40 minutes as different canvases, music, and speaking move around you.
      There are also seats in the room if you don’t want to walk and as there are so many different types of screens, then you see the canvas from any part of the room.

      1. karenincalabria Avatar

        I like the idea of seats!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Good for small children also and yes, there were several under five-year-olds.

  6. Lydia Avatar

    Wow! This seems like an exceptional exhibition! Thanks for bringing this experience closer to all of us who didn’t get a chance to get there and enjoy this unforgettable event!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I think many would enjoy this new innovative art exhibition, which definitely moves away from the traditional gallery-style exhibition. Glad you enjoyed the post and I was able to draw you into the exhibition. 🙂

  7. A Life Unleashed Avatar

    This looks awesome! I wish I could go! …..and excellent use of the word dovetail, I’m sure you had an assist with that.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks Mark, you’d love this exhibition! Thought you might like my word usage and no assistance at all – finally got to use that word. 😉

  8. the eternal traveller Avatar

    I would enjoy seeing this rather than just viewing the paintings in a gallery.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was an great exhibition and totally different to paintings in a gallery. But for me, the excitement is seeing an original work of art.
      Although a multimedia exhibition is a different type of art, seeing a painting that’s hundreds of years’ old is pretty special for me…

      1. the eternal traveller Avatar

        That’s true. I would enjoy the explanations at this exhibition.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Apart from it being too short, it was very cool.

  9. Valerie Cullers Avatar

    Such beautiful work…and the venue is spectacular!!! How tragic that some of the most gifted artists suffer so much mentally and emotionally. You wonder if sometimes it is the price that they pay for such giftedness and genius. Thank you for sharing this with us!!!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Absolutely agree Valerie.
      Tragically, it seems that many gifted people end up taking their own life.

      1. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

        Yes, maybe far too sensitive and gifted to be in an insensitive world that does not nurture those that are gifted artistically and not academically?

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Indeed Suzanne. I remember in Primary School the nuns sneering at any creativity or non-conforming behaviour, which usually ended with a whack over the hands or back.

      3. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

        You must’ve had the same nuns!! Luckily that’s slowly changing!

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, I bet we can compare notes! 🙂

      5. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

        Yep 😨🤤😂

      6. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Yes, I have known some brilliant gifted people who lived such lives of suffering, it is really sad.

      7. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I know what you mean…it’s very sad.

  10. Oh, the Places We See Avatar

    Thanks for this excellent virtual tour complete with some great quotes. What a marvelous tribute to one of my favorite artists!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      No problem and thank you for the feedback!
      If you get the chance, this exhibition is definitely worth seeing.

  11. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    An incredible exhibit. It exceeded my expectations! I wish it could have been longer!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes, I was also surprised.
      Thought the same about the length, an extra ten minutes would have been great! Thanks for the invite. 🙂

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