I may not know ART but I know what I like: 21333 LEGO® IDEAS The Starry Night Revealed

The Latest LEGO® Ideas set – The Starry Night, based on LEGO Truman’s submission to LEGO Ideas has been unveiled, and will be available by the end of the month.The set has 2,316 pieces and measures 38 cm wide x 28cm high x 21 cm deep. It will be priced at £149.99 / €169.99 / $169.99 USD / 259.99 AUD / 219.99 CAD when it goes on sale at LEGO Branded retail channels, as well as the Museum of Modern Art gift shop, on May 25th.

In 1889, while staying at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, Southern France, Vincent Van Gogh created the Starry Night. The landscape was based, in part on the view he had from the room where he was staying, although, as is the nature of impressionism, perhaps some things are not exactly as they appeared. But without a doubt, with his swirling use of colours – in the foothills, the foreboding cypress tree and the sky itself, Van Gogh created one of his most enduring pieces of art. The original is now on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

LEGO Truman’s submission of his three-dimensional version of this artwork was accepted on LEGO Ideas on June 6th 2020 and reached 10000 supporters in 6 weeks. It was approved for development in February 2021 and will be arriving on shelves on May 25th, 2022.

While LEGO Truman was able to recreate the effect of the burst strokes as effectively as a plate and brick based medium could at the time, the arrival of several new cutout curved slope elements has been able to give the ‘central swirl’ a smoother appearance. the colours in the foothills have been lightened, and the recent broadening of the palette of pale royal blue has also been exploited.

The set also sees a shift in the tones used in the night sky, focussing on the greenish-blue hues, rather than the bluish greens of the original submission.

Of course, one of the things that gave the original painting its signature look is the radiating circular brushstrokes around the stars in the sky, and this has been enhanced through the use of printed dish elements in the final set. The addition of a rectangular, sloped frame around the image further enhances the set, while the main image does not project forward quite as far as the original submission. Still, I love the 3-D effect.

I really like the minifigure included with the set – the likeness to Von Gogh’s self-portraits is terrific. This particular portrait is from a similar period as the Starry Night was painted, and it would appear that these clothes are the ones represented in the minifigure.

17th May, 2022: In tribute to Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting, the LEGO Group has revealed the LEGO® Ideas The Starry Night set.  This beautiful set was designed by Truman Cheng, a 25-year old Hong Kong based LEGO fan, through a submission on the LEGO Ideas platform, and has been created in conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The three-dimensional set reimagines Vincent van Gogh’s renowned 1889 painting in LEGO form, with strong emphasis on the artist’s striking brush strokes and colour choice. Inspired by the view from his window at the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, where the artist spent twelve months, The Starry Night is one of the world’s most well-known post-impressionist works and has been a visitor favourite at MoMA since it first arrived in 1935.

Art lovers can swap paint palettes for LEGO bricks and re-create one of the world’s most recognisable masterpieces. From the twinkling stars and mesmerising moon to the sleeping Provence village below, van Gogh’s image has been brought spectacularly to life in brick, capturing the artist’s swirling brushstrokes.

To celebrate and inspire creativity, the LEGO Group has also launched a competition encouraging fans to submit their own mini LEGO builds inspired by the night’s sky. Winning designs will form part of an installation displayed in the lobby at the Museum of Modern Art this summer. Participants in Spain, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico and Poland can enter by simply visiting https://www.LEGO.com/Starry-Night or select LEGO stores. 

Honouring the celebrated artist, the set also includes a van Gogh minifigure, complete with a paint brush, palette, easel and mini painting on a printed tile, which can even be attached via an arm to show him painting the scene. The intricate set can be displayed standing or on the wall, thanks to the hanging feature. 

When developing the original concept, Truman Cheng, a PhD student and LEGO fan, was just playing with LEGO bricks when he realised that stacking them together in random intervals looked a like van Gogh’s iconic brush strokes.  “It was a was a good brain tease to come up with tricks and techniques to capture the look of the original painting,” Cheng said, talking about his design “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.”

Once Truman’s design had received 10,000 votes from the LEGO fan community, it was considered for development by the LEGO Group.  Talking of the decision to turn the design into a real set, Federico Begher, Head of Global Marketing, said, “What makes The Starry Night so irresistible is the expressive brush work and vibrant colours used throughout, which tell the story of humanity’s everlasting dream for better things. 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.” 

“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,” said Sarah Suzuki, Associate Director, The Museum of Modern Art.

The set will go on sale on 25th May exclusively for LEGO VIP’s (www.lego.com/VIP) and MoMA members (https://membership.moma.org/) and then will be available globally from 01st June for £149.99 / €169.99 / $169.99 on www.Lego.com/starry-night,in LEGO stores and with MoMA Design Store in New York City and online at store.moma.org.

I love the way that the minifigure attaches to this model, as well as the option to mount it on a wall.

This set is going to have wide appeal both amongst existing LEGO fans, as well as lovers of Van Gogh’s artwork. As an added bonus of having solved the annual mystery of ‘what shall I get my wife for her birthday.’ For 2022 at least. The original has been her favourite artwork for years, and visiting MOMA is on our bucket-list for this reason.

While slightly simplified from the original submission, it looks like the final design is full of interesting techniques, producing a gorgeous final product: Shut Up and Take My Money!

I’d love to know what you think of this particular LEGO Ideas set: why not leave your comments below, and until next time…

Play Well!

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