In 1889, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh created a dreamlike rendition of the view out of his room at the asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, entitled The Starry Night. While he considered the work a “failure” during his lifetime, it has since become the Post-Impressionist's most famous painting—encapsulating Van Gogh's bold and colorful style. Now, art lovers can test their knowledge of the iconic image by building it, piece by piece. On May 25, the LEGO Group is releasing The Starry Night set, a specially designed kit that replicates the blue-and-yellow painting with LEGO bricks.
This new addition is part of the LEGO Ideas series, which is based on fan creations from around the world. The Starry Night set was designed by 25-year-old LEGO fan Truman Cheng. The Hong Kong-based Ph.D. student discovered a way to replicate Van Gogh's distinct brushstrokes by stacking LEGO bricks intermittently. “It was a good brain tease to come up with tricks and techniques to capture the look of the original painting,” Cheng explains. “The brushwork goes into many directions in the Moon and the swirling cloud, so there was some creative use of bracket and clip elements involved.”
Cheng's design received 10,000 votes from the LEGO fan community, bringing it to the attention of the LEGO Group. Soon afterwards, the project was put into motion. “What makes The Starry Night so irresistible is the expressive brushwork and vibrant colors used throughout, which tell the story of humanity’s everlasting dream for better things,” Federico Begher, head of global marketing, says. “Truman’s design was a masterpiece in itself – showing how many different LEGO elements and techniques could be used to replicate Van Gogh’s iconic painting.
“At the LEGO Group, we want to inspire the world to get creative, so we’re incredibly proud to have brought this set to life in partnership with such an iconic institution as MoMA, allowing fans to be artistic with bricks, and to create and display their own masterpiece.”
The Starry Night has been a highlight of the MoMA since 1935, so LEGO collaborated with the renowned institution to bring the set to life. “At MoMA, we celebrate the opportunity to connect art and audiences, and are thrilled to be part of a new way to experience Van Gogh’s work, and to inspire the creative impulse in people of all ages,” adds Sarah Suzuki, associate director of The Museum of Modern Art.
Additionally, the LEGO Group is hosting a competition for fans to create their own version of a night sky, some of which could inspire an installation in the lobby of the MoMA museum in New York. The competition is open to participants 18 and over from Spain, UK, Germany, France, Poland, USA, Canada, and Mexico. Entries close June 30, 2022.
The Starry Night set is priced at $169.99, and will be available for purchase via LEGO's website and the MoMA Store starting May 25, 2022 for LEGO VIPs and MoMA members, and go on general release on June 1, 2022.