A futuristic exhibition dedicated to the work of Vincent Van Gogh, which sees digital recreations of his paintings projected onto 30 giant video screens, has transformed the Place du Festival, in the heart of the city’s cultural district.
The site sandwiched between Usher Hall and the five-star Sheraton Grand Hotel is the only Scottish location for Van Gogh Live, an immersive art exhibition combining animation, cinematic surround sound and even scents.
Presented as a multi-sensory experience tracing the artist’s life through his work, it allows people to experience the sensation of walking in – and on – the 19th century artist’s paintings as they come to life while being immersed in classical music.
Van Gogh Live, which opens Thursday and will be in Festival Square until July 17, also features interactive art stations for visitors to learn artistic skills, a “sunflower selfie room” and a life-size representation of Van Gogh’s bedroom.
Over 3,000 different images were used to create the show, which has reportedly been viewed by over 8.5 million people in 75 cities around the world so far.
Dan Flynn, Head of Marketing at Van Gogh Alive UK, said: “It’s literally an immersive experience to stimulate the senses.
“As you enter the main space, you are greeted by 30 screens that project up to 3,000 images on a 45-minute loop.
“We use technology that effectively breaks down Van Gogh’s work during his lifetime into various elements and layers them on top of each other to create a sense of movement.”
Van Gogh Alive, said to be the most visited sensory experience in the world, was created by Australian company Grande Experiences.
Mr Flynn added: “We don’t think there’s been anything like this in Scotland before in terms of an immersive digital experience and we think that kind of exposure is here to stay.
“Over 500,000 tickets were sold when Van Gogh Alive was previously in London, Birmingham and Salford and we have no doubt it will be equally popular in Edinburgh too.
“It is very rare to attend an event where you can find a toddler walking around totally immersed in the experience at the same time as an octogenarian couple. It attracts a very diverse range of visitors.
“It’s definitely not a traditional art gallery style – people don’t have to tiptoe around and we really want them to be really involved in the whole experience.”
It is hoped that the Van Gogh show will breathe new life into the Place du Festival and help revive the city center as it emerges from the pandemic.
Official partners include the Johnnie Walker Princes Street Whiskey Visitor Center which opened in September.
Rob Maxwell, attraction manager, said: “No one would dispute Edinburgh’s status as a global hub for arts and culture. Attracting world-class exhibits like this is further proof that the city’s star continues to shine brightly.
“It’s fantastic to have such a wonderful experience so close to home.”