A bigger canvas

A bigger canvas
The makers encouraged the animators to learn how to paint the actors like Aidan Turner in oils which were then photographed and animated

Adam Shaw on a movie comprising 62,000 oil paintings

Some of Ireland’s most successful film and TV actors – Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd, and Aidan Turner – have lent their talents to a one of a kind Anglo- Polish film about the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. Loving Vincent, a biopic covering the life and death of artist Vincent Van Gogh is an experimental picture funded through Kickstarter.

A bigger canvas
Saoirse Ronan

Every frame is put together with oil on canvas as a groundbreaking project in the industry and a tribute to the controversial Dutch painter. The Anglo-Polish team, headed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, has lined-up a stellar cast, with a number of stars coming from Ireland, including Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan. Ronan, who will play Marguerite Gachet, the daughter of the artist’s doctor, said it was the unique concept that drew her in.

“I was really interested to see what the process was going to be because I knew we were all going to be turned into Van Gogh-style paintings but I didn’t quite know how they were going to go about it,” she explained.

Chris O’Dowd and Aidan Turner are also set for roles in the pioneering film, where they will work alongside British performers Douglas Booth, Helen McCrory and Jerome Flynn. The plot is drawn from 800 letters written by the artist and will feature around 120 of his paintings. More than 100 artists are needed to achieve the required 12 frames a second and, when completed, it will contain roughly 1,000 canvases.

These canvases will either be given to the crowdfunding donors or form part of a travelling exhibition. The story is set a year after Van Gogh’s death, when the postman Joseph Roulin sends his son, Armand, to deliver a letter to the painter’s brother, Theo. Upon finding out that Theo has also died, Armand sets out on a journey to track down those involved with the artist.

Welchman said: “What drew me in was Van Gogh’s story. “He failed miserably at three professions and had a severe breakdown. He hadn’t done anything more than very rudimentary drawings in childhood but he decided to paint and ended up revolutionising modern art.

A bigger canvas

“He forced himself to become the peerless artist that he is. You can feel that passion and desire coming through his work, which is why people like him.

A bigger canvas

“He achieved what he wanted to do – to communicate with people – in his painting that he failed to do in the flesh.”

Van Gogh was born in Zundert, Netherlands, in 1853.

He lived in London and Paris and produced a number of iconic artworks including “The Starry Night” and “Sunflowers”. He died aged 37 in Auverssur- Oise, France, 29 hours after shooting himself in the chest.

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