Live Science Verdict
The Lego Ideas Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night is a magnificent work of art. It has a clever use of layers, implements unorthodox building techniques, and the way the painting literally pops from the frame all work together to create something truly beautiful.
Excellent building techniques used
Displayed with a cleverly-made frame
Comes with Vincent van Gogh minifig
Some repetitive sections
Not sure we’d feel comfortable hanging this on the wall, given its thickness (and weight)
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Model number: 21333
Number of pieces: 2,316
Dimensions: 12 x 15 x 5 inches / 30 x 38 x 12 cm
Recommended age: 18+
There’s a lot of Lego ranges we love, but for ingenuity and truly stand-out sets, you really can’t beat Lego Ideas – and Lego Ideas Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night is a magnificent example of this. It says a lot about the incredible creativity that comes out of the Lego community when our favorite sets aren’t designed by employees of the company, but instead amateur fan designers, creating for pleasure rather than payment.
Truman Cheng’s winning Lego Ideas submission is every bit as remarkable as Van Gogh’s original Starry Night, reimagined in gorgeous, 3D blocky detail. It truly is a work of art, and one of the absolute best Lego sets for adults. This is a set that really pushes Lego as an art form: how can you look at this and see just a child’s toy?
Truman Cheng – who goes by the handle legotruman on the Lego Ideas website – first submitted Starry Night in July 2020. Just a month later, it reached 10,000 votes of support – the amount needed to be judged by a Lego panel. That judging took place in February 2021, and it took until the summer of 2022 for the set to make it onto shelves. It’s absolutely been worth the wait though, that’s for sure.
Lego Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night: Build
- Great building techniques
- Easy to make mistakes
We hope you like blue, ‘cause you’re going to be using a lot of blue bricks as you piece together Lego Ideas Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night. The only downside to this lies at the fault of the instruction booklet: if you’re building in poor light, it can be hard to differentiate pale blues from light blues, and medium blues from dark blues. We’re fairly certain we’ve got a handful of pieces in the wrong place in our own finished model, but, ultimately, it doesn’t matter. That’s the joy of its impressionist nature as a few slightly wrongly-shaded bricks isn’t going to matter.
The build is separated into several key areas. Firstly, there’s the foreground – the village, which jumps out of the frame in wondrous 3D. Then there’s the background and the waves splashing out of it. Next is the professional-looking frame that is beautiful and sleek. Finally, the giant tree growing in the foreground. It’s a very methodical build, with each stage being impressive in its own right. But, it’s only when you’ve finished and seen all the elements together, that you can truly appreciate just how dazzling Lego Ideas The Starry Night actually is.
There are nine numbered sets of bags to get through, and you can expect the build to take around five or six hours, give or take, depending on how experienced you are with Lego. By the end of bag five, the bulk of the model will be in place, with all to come after being the frame itself and some additional details in the night sky and the village below. Some of the latter bags are fairly small – quite a comparison to the bags numbered ‘5,’ filled with hundreds of blue flat bricks in order to construct the sky.
One of our favorite parts of the build, although overshadowed by the art itself, is the frame. Frames made out of Lego are nothing new, and we’ve been seeing them for a couple of years thanks to Lego’s own Art range. But the frame here is far more intricate and decorative than anything we’ve seen before it. Interestingly, it wasn’t featured in Cheng’s initial submission of the set: originally, it was frameless, simply standing up like a 3D card. It’s the main difference from that original concept that has really elevated the set to the next level.
Lego Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night: Design
- An incredible recreation of an iconic piece of art
- Bit too bulky to actually hang on the wall
How do you critique the design of a Lego set based on a 130-year-old piece of art? Van Gogh’s Starry Night speaks for itself, of course. This is an iconic piece of art that almost everyone will be familiar with: it’s on postcards, art prints, clothing – heck, it’s even on the screensaver of one of our TVs. It’s everywhere! However, we’ve never seen it come to life in quite the way that Lego Ideas Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night does.
It’s instantly recognizable as Van Gogh’s painting, sure, but it’s also something new all of its own. Lego bricks have been used ingeniously to create a range of curves and motion: it’s as if it’s almost moving right in front of your eyes. The addition of the stunning frame and the unique printed pieces for the stars and moon really finish it off, cementing it as one of the most remarkable Lego display sets to date.
Plus, it comes with its own Vincent van Gogh minifig! Armed with a paintbrush, painting palette, and easel, you get your own little artist at work. They've even incorporated his unique brushstrokes onto his little blue jacket, which is a lovely touch. You can also include him as part of the display piece as the set comes with a base you can swivel in front of the scene so Van Gogh can get just the right painting angle.
Our only criticism? The depth of the set means hanging it on the wall will be tricky. Indeed, Lego has intended that some people are going to hang it up, as the back of the frame features a hanging bracket. There’s also a tiny leg to stand it on, so if you feel that having it safely propped up on a shelf or desk, then that’s an option too. However, if you trust the strength of your walls, this will look incredible hung up… we’ll be keeping it safely at desk height, though.
Should you buy Lego Vincent van Gogh – The Starry Night?
If you appreciate art and you’re hungry for a Lego set that offers something out of the ordinary, then absolutely you should buy Lego Ideas Vincent van Gogh. We’ll say it again: this is one of the most remarkably designed Lego sets to date. Its clever use of bricks and unusual building techniques create a true piece of art. This isn’t just a replica of Van Gogh’s work, it’s a piece of art in its own right.
Other Lego sets to consider
If more Lego to hang on your wall is what you desire, then the Lego Art range is worth taking a look at. The new $80/£60 Floral Art set allows you to build one of three floral designs, neatly cast in a white frame. If pop culture is more your thing, you may get a kick out of the Jim Lee Batman Collection ($120/£105).
If you have $250/£215 to spare, though, we recommend going for the World Map. It’s a meter wide and has the highest piece count of any Lego set currently released (11,695 pieces to be precise). Or, for $230/£200 The Globe also makes a beautiful decorative piece, if you can live with the fact that it’s not exactly geographically accurate.
We also love the Typewriter, a fantastic model with working parts that looks just like the real thing and priced at $250/£215. It's a more challenging build, but the end result is worth it!
Kim is a UK-based freelancewriter who focuses on Lego, toys and video game-related content. She's the co-creator of GameSpew.com and ThatBrickSite.com, where you'll find most of her work. If she's not building with plastic bricks, playing a video game, or writing about doing either of those things, you should probably check she's still breathing. You can find her on Twitter at @ichangedmyname.