“Van Gogh: Immersive Experience,” an interactive pop-up gallery that lets you understand the classics of art in a modern way, is a wonderland of beauty.

 The exhibit is available through February at The Strand Theater in Boston. The collection lets you step into Van Gogh’s most beloved paintings and experience the art cascading down the walls of an old theater through the use of 360-degree projection and virtual reality technology.

I had an amazing time at this event. I first saw advertising for this pop-up in December 2020. I knew that as soon as I could go, I would buy tickets. Almost a year later, I got to fulfill my dream of going to this exhibit last Friday.

The site’s main attraction is the 360-degree virtual reality room. This section of the exhibit shows eight of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings including “Starry Night,” his self-portraits, the Japonaiserie era, “The Sunflowers” and more. 

It was my favorite room of the exhibit and the reason I wanted to go. What I particularly like about the experience is the conjunction of the old and new; a duality of time brought to you before your eyes. The process of digitizing Van Gogh’s art and making it come to life, as though you are living in what he has painted, is a whole art form of itself. In addition to the revolutionized art experience, the classical music curated makes you feel the painting’s emotions deeper. 

Once checked in, the gallery starts with a timeline of Van Gogh’s life, including some of his self-portraits. The virtual reality experience is teased by having a projection of Van Gogh’s art shift on a bust of himself. 

As you move further into the gallery, you are taken through his different periods that explain what Van Gogh was going through during the time of creating them. They include his vase painting, his “Sunflower” series, his experience with Japonaiserie and his bedroom scenes.

The focus around the vase paintings was that it started as a color experiment when Van Gogh was manic. They also mentioned that many of these paintings have faded. For example, the paintings that show white roses in a vase were once red roses. 

Similar in concept to the vase paintings is the “Sunflower” series. These collections of paintings include six pictures, however, it mentioned that a seventh one is missing. I was particularly drawn to this series because I feel as though throughout the series it shows the sunflowers withering or becoming darker in color which may represent depression or burnout Van Gogh experienced. 

Scenes similar to this theme are the bedroom paintings known as “Bedroom in Arles.” Van Gogh’s bedroom scene has three iterations of this picture. Each one experiences a shift in color, which could be synonymous with what the bedroom represented to him during the time he painted each one. 

Van Gogh drew his inspiration from the environment around him. When he traveled to Japan. he was captivated by the art style in the country. 

“Their work is as simple as breathing, and they do a figure with a few confident strokes with the same ease as if it was as simple as buttoning your waistcoat,” he said in a letter to his brother Theo. 

After his experience with Japonaiserie, Van Gogh was inspired to bring some concepts in Japanese artwork into his own.

I am so glad I got to experience a night under the stars and learn more than I thought I would have. If the pop-ups continue, I would want to see this exhibit in another city to see if they are different depending on where it is located.