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How Ateliers des Lumieres is celebrating legendary art in the digital world

Considering it is home to the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and a host of other fascinating museums and galleries, Paris has always had a major reputation for celebrating art in all of its forms.

However, one of the most striking additions to the city’s list of must-see exhibitions and galleries in recent times has undoubtedly been the Atelier des Lumieres. Opened just last year, the digital art centre based in a restored 19th-century foundry has been developed to give visitors an immersive and dynamic experience.

A range of work is being showcased at the site, with a particularly fascinating exhibition breathing new life into the legacy of one of the art world’s greatest names.

Enduring legacy

While trends and fashions across pop culture have come and gone through the years, the work of some of the world’s most famous artists has always endured.

For example, a figure as legendary as Leonardo da Vinci has been immortalised in a host of films, as well as fictional tales like Da Vinci’s Demons which have put a more fantastical twist on his legacy. He is also one of a handful of artists to be referenced within the Doctor Who universe, alongside the likes of Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh. The latter famously featured in “Vincent and the Doctor”, an episode penned by Love Actually and Blackadder’s Richard Curtis.

While it is no surprise that famous artists have had an enduring presence online, this has manifested in surprising and unlikely areas, from various genres of gaming such as online slots to the search engine giant Google. In terms of the former, a host of online casinos offer players the chance to play slots for real money that find their inspiration in the work and lives of classical artists, with a popular title like IGT’s Da Vinci’s Diamonds featuring a strong nod towards the artist’s great works. In contrast, Google has celebrated the art world’s biggest names by changing its ‘doodle’. A host of legendary names including – again – Da Vinci and Van Gogh have inspired redesigns of the web giant’s logo, with many appearing on anniversaries or birthdays relating to them.

Van Gogh, Starry Night

So while the work and legacy of art’s legendary names continues to make an impact in the 21st century, how is the Atelier des Lumieres paying tribute to it? Well, the latest high-profile exhibition at the site is called Van Gogh, Starry Night and it has been created to immerse visitors in the artist’s work and provide a new perspective on a gift for painting which went unrecognised during his lifetime.

Running until the end of this year, the exhibition by Gianfranco Iannuzzi, Renato Gatto and Massimiliano Siccardi places a new emphasis on Van Gogh’s expressive style and traces his story from his early years to his troubled final days.

The exhibition created with the Art & Music Immersive Experience – or AMIEX – system also includes an educational element, with part of the gallery featuring a selection of Van Gogh’s most famous works as well as commentaries analysing the work and information on sites where the originals are now exhibited.

An intriguing concept

Since its opening last year, Ateliers des Lumieres has provided a fascinating glimpse into what the future of art could look like in an increasingly digital world. With the new Van Gogh exhibition, it could be argued that the site is forging a link between art’s history and this new phase.

It is an intriguing concept and it will be interesting to see if the work of other legendary painters is give the same treatment in the coming years.