Van Gogh's Most Famous Paintings Were Recreated in the Night Sky by 600 Drones

EFYI Group and Tianjin University in China officially won the Guinness World Record for the longest animation performed by unmanned aerial vehicles with its display of Van Gogh artworks recreated in the night sky in Tianjin via 600 Agile Bee II drones.

The total time for the animation lasted 26 minutes and 19 seconds and was performed in December 2020. In order to be considered, the event had to generate 12 images per second in order to be considered "animated" by Guinness.

During the event, the drones recreated pieces of several works by famous painter Vincent Van Gogh, including "Wheat field with Cypresses," "Cypresses and Two Women," "The Mulberry Tree in Autumn," "Almond blossoms," "Sunflowers," "Bedroom in Arles," as well as his famous "Starry Night" and "Self-Portrait."

"When it comes to animation, it's a challenge for drones to perform it. For the previous drone demonstrations, it was a picture flying to another picture. Making a full-length animation is a difficult challenge for the whole team, both technically and creatively," said Zhang Siqi, COO of EFYI Group, in a statement shared by Guinness World Records. "Animation is a way to tell a story, to tell something that you want to tell."

The incredible display is truly mesmerizing, especially considering the amount of planning and technical know-how it took to achieve. A recap video of the process that has been published on YouTube transforms Van Gogh's famous works into a pseudo-living display. Light-up mulberry trees seem to waft in the breeze, the artist himself appears after an animation of his name, and his signature tiny brush strokes and circular patterns twinkle and move across the sky that seems perfect for Van Gogh's style.

The whole display has the same fascinating appeal of a fireworks show, though with less explosions.

Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.

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