CLOSE
Original image
YouTube

A Vincent Van Gogh Self-Portrait Made From 50,000 Flowers

Original image
YouTube

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death, a suicide by revolver in the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise. In the depths of his despair and prolonged struggle with a “sadness” that he felt would “last forever,” Van Gogh could not have foreseen the global adoration for his life’s work. This anniversary year has seen devoted tributes in his native Netherlands—as well as England, France, and Belgium—for “Van Gogh 2015: 125 Years of Inspiration,” a campaign led by Van Gogh Brabant.

Of these tributes, the most visually stunning and labor-intensive can be found on the Museumplein outside the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where volunteers have constructed a towering recreation of one of Van Gogh’s own self-portraits with 50,000 fresh dahlias. Each of the flowers was hand-picked from the gardens behind Van Gogh’s childhood home in Brabant, where he was surrounded by natural beauty from the earliest days of his life. Each bloom then took on a second life as a miniscule portion of a vibrant, color-by-numbers-style image of the artist. The enlargement looks to be modeled after Van Gogh’s 1887 ‘Self Portrait in a Grey Felt Hat’ in oil on canvas, the original of which is on display within the Van Gogh Museum itself.

Van Gogh painted dozens of self-portraits over the last years of his life in varying states of dress, but always with the same somber expression. Not even the works of his painter friends capture the artist with the slightest semblance of a smile. His anniversary portrait in flowers does not attempt to glamorize his image, but pays fitting tribute to a man who expressed his darkest emotions in vivid swaths of color.

Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books
arrow
Design
Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
Original image
Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh
arrow
Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios