When looking at potential gift ideas for the holiday season, we also check and see what LEGO has been up to. This time, the eye-catching LEGO rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night caught our eye. It’s part of the LEGO Ideas selection, and a beautiful cross-over for art-minded fans of the iconic bricks. Time for a closer look.
Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece is one of the most iconic paintings in the world, and can currently be seen at the Museum of Modern Art. What’s interesting about this LEGO edition of the painting is that it was originally designed by a LEGO fan and was later picked up by LEGO to officially be published. The end result is a set that’s geared towards adults, both in terms of its theme and the level of challenge it presents, but also one that transcends the realm of “play” we usually associate with the brand.
First impressions reinforce this – the box for The Starry Night is a classy black (echoing the frame around the build), and the booklet included offers more than just the build instructions. You’ll find information about Van Gogh himself, more on The Starry Night, as well as background info on the MoMA, the original designer (legotruman) and the LEGO team that worked on the set. Great to get in the mood for building, or to read as you lean back and look at the final product.
Another nice touch is that this set doesn’t use a sticker sheet – which is great, as stickers always makes me a little nervous. There’s always the danger of it being a little off or it getting damaged or worn, and not having to worry about any of that is a huge plus. The Starry Night isn’t a cheap set, but with 2316 parts included it’s a serious build in a quality package.
Besides the LEGO recreation of The Starry Night itself, you also get a little minifigure that represents Vincent van Gogh himself – which can be attached to the front of the painting so it looks like he’s actively painting. It makes it look a little too “3D” when mounted on a wall for our liking, but it looks fantastic sitting atop a dresser – partly because Van Gogh looks the part and comes with his easel that holds a mini version of the work you just built.
As mentioned, that build process isn’t easy – but it’s rewarding. Because the source material has such delicate gradients in color, you’ll find a lot of different shades of the same color in the box – making the process a careful one so that you don’t end up having to take half the painting apart to replace a 2×1 plate/brick of the wrong color.
To simulate the look and feel of Van Gogh’s brush strokes, The Starry Night uses a lot of thin plate bricks. This requires a bit of patience, as by nature it takes longer before you have something substantial – the backdrop of the sky and the surrounding black frame in particular aren’t the most rewarding elements to build, even though they’re essential for the end result. It’s exciting when you start adding the 3D elements to the build though – which include little house and even a church, as well as clouds, hills and the moon and stars.
The cypress tree in the front is especially striking, but all of the 3D elements add to the attractiveness of the set – it’s The Starry Night, but anyone seeing it for the first time will be drawn in by its depth features. Step back for a bit, and you’ll stop seeing the individual plates and will notice the color gradients instead – this is one of the most visually appealing LEGO sets you can get, and a wonderful addition to a living room or office space. It’s a way for adults to express that they’re LEGO fans without anyone thinking of the word “toy” – and that’s a huge design achievement. LEGO’s best foray into the world of art thus far.