Arts / Galleries

Houston’s New Immersive Monet is the Largest Immersive Art Experience in America — Watch the Paintings Come to Life

This is No Staid Museum Art Exhibition

BY // 07.07.22
photography Patrick Hodgon

Lighthouse Immersive, the company that brought Immersive Van Gogh and Immersive Frida Kahlo to more than five million viewers around the United States, has unveiled its third large-scale art experience: Immersive Monet & The Impressionists.

This captivating homage to the work of the 19th century Impressionist movement should be considered a must-see for art lovers, historians and anyone who loves beautiful sensory experiences in this reviewer’s opinion. 

At the Houston interactive Immersive Monet & The Impressionists one word stands out: Scale.

Lighthouse ArtSpace Houston, where the Van Gogh and Kahlo shows were also staged, encompasses a 25,000-square-foot exhibit space. This makes for the largest immersive art experience in the country, with 500,000 cubic feet of projections displayed over four walls and even the floor, bathing viewers in light and color and creating a dazzling 360 degree art spectacle.

More than 1.2 million frames of video were used in the creation of the hour-long animation that stars in this exhibit.

Onlookers take in a serene painting at "Immersive Monet & The Impressionists." (Photo by Patrick Hodgon)
Onlookers take in a serene painting at Immersive Monet & The Impressionists. (Photo by Patrick Hodgon)

Needless to say, this isn’t your usual art-museum experience. From the moment the lights dim, the paintings come to life around you. Composer Luca Longobardi brings an added auditory dimension to the stunning visuals, with classical orchestral music that ebbs and flows in sync with the colors and shapes of the paintings.

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Through the stunning work of Vittorio Guidotti, creative director of animations, the elements of different paintings morph and combine into one another as the projection moves through the chronological works of the Impressionists. Brushstrokes shimmer and gyrate as though the masterpieces are being painted before your eyes.

Digital artist and creator Massimiliano Siccardi is world renowned for his video scenographies, and his talents are front and center in this latest installment of the Immersive series.

Immersive Monet & The Impressionists was co-produced with Impact Museums, a studio that operates several interactive museum experiences in support of social causes. To design this exhibition, the two companies collaborated with set designer Rowan Doyle, whose credits include Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition.

The cavernous exhibit room at "Immersive Monet & The Impressionists" is filled with vibrant colors. (Photo by Patrick Hodgon)
The cavernous exhibition gallery at Immersive Monet & The Impressionists is filled with vibrant colors. (Photo by Patrick Hodgon)

The Impressionist movement is characterized by the artists’ depictions of light and movement, often illustrated through short, thin brushstrokes in still lifes, portraits and landscapes. This celebrated group of painters’ dedication to capturing precious moments — a sunrise, a sunset, a picnic or even a bowl of apples — is fully revealed in this exhibition.

The subjects of Impressionist paintings range from gardens with bountiful trees, flowers and fruits to cityscapes, seascapes, the sky at different times of day, party scenes and even the French railway. 

Oscar-Claude Monet is known as the leader and founder of the Impressionist style of painting. His 1872 painting Impression, Soleil Levant (Impression, Sunrise) gave the movement its name. Today, he is perhaps best known for his depictions of water lilies and bodies of water.

In addition to showcasing Monet’s work, the exhibition also highlights Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt and many more.

Immersive Monet & The Impressionists is on view through August 14 at 1314 Brittmoore Road. You can purchase tickets ($34.99 for adults, $19.99 for kids 6 to 16) here. 

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