I’m not here to argue that LEGO can be art — I will simply let the evidence speak for itself on that topic. I’m just here to let you know, one mature LEGO fan to another, that the latest from LEGO Ideas takes the world’s most popular building block system to new artistic heights. Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night has earned the requisite 10,000 fan endorsements on LEGO Ideas and was approved for production. The set assembles a brick-olage of the ever-diversifying arsenal of LEGO blocks into a surprisingly fluid replica of the famous Impressionist painting. Even more meta, the 1,552-piece set includes a van Gogh Minifigure that stands before the set, capturing the painting on a little LEGOgh easel and canvas — revealing the set to be a landscape, and our miniature artist to be indulging in some plein-air painting.
The set was submitted by Truman (aka legotruman), a Hong Kong-based LEGO enthusiast whose other project submissions include Kraken vs Vikings, various Studio Ghibli fare, and other pop culture properties, like Nightmare Before Christmas and Animal Crossing. The Starry Night is Truman’s first project to make it all the way through approval, but a second, an extraordinarily detailed rendition of the bathhouse from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away is currently under review. If it helps, I would crawl on broken glass to get just the proposed No-Face buildable figurine … but that probably speaks to my deep personal issues more than anything else.
In the meantime, we can all be starry-eyed for Starry Night. Not only does the set pay homage to high art, but it also turns the backing board, which usually serves as the ground level of a scene, into a proscenium of sorts. This allows for a fascinating turn of perspective befitting the send-up of an artist whose groundbreaking vision has continued long past his death in 1890, just one year after completing his most famous masterpiece of the swirling French sky. Congrats to Truman for extending van Gogh’s legacy into a new medium, as well as gaining admission to the LEGO canon!