What's your favorite painting? Hold that image in your mind for a sec, then imagine the brushstrokes, shapes, and colors brought to life—so you could actually walk right in. Whoa. Right?
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has brought my favorite painting to life in a unique way that melds contemporary technology with a masterpiece of 19th-century art: Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night." The Starry Night Bike Path, a winding half-mile in the city of Eindhoven that is illuminated by thousands of LED lights and special paint, interprets the swirling shapes and colors of Van Gogh's painting. I don't know about you, but for me the work of Van Gogh is highly personal—as if the artist, with his dramatic strokes and thick layers of paint, is reaching out to me across the years, teaching me a new way to see and feel. I'm psyched that a contemporary artist is attempting to transport an audience in a similar way. Roosegaarde has spoken enthusiastically about how the path, which opened to the public on November 13, makes a statement about technology and cultural history—and is also a popular spot for first dates. What's not to love?
Van Gogh's original "Starry Night,"which he painted in 1889 while in an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, is on display in New York City, not far from the Budget Travel offices, at the Museum of Modern Art. It is the museum's most popular work and, for me, it's up there with the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building for must-see NYC attractions.
The city of Eindhoven, where the Starry Night Bike Path is located, was Van Gogh's home for a few years and appears as a backdrop in some of his paintings. These days the city of more than 200,000 is a major technology hub (the Philips electronics company was founded there) and boasts major museums, theaters, and miles of bike paths. Eindhoven is about 90 minutes from both Amsterdam and the Hague.
If you don't happen to be in the Netherlands at the moment, pretend you're cycling or strolling on the Starry Night Bike Path with this video!