Missing ear. Posthumously famous. Misunderstood misanthrope. Obviously I’m talking about Vincent van Gogh (and hopefully no one you actually know). If you want to bring the brilliant painter to life (you know, again) I’ve found a wonderful interactive, biographical app for that very thing.

The beautiful Explore Vincent app delves into Van Gogh’s troubled life and times with 15 animated video clips, six educational games, and various paintings and drawings by the artist
which are are showcased throughout. Though the app developer doesn’t specify an age range, I’m thinking it’s best suited to kids 10 and up.

The historically-based video clips–a mix of split-screens, graphics and music–show kids how masters like Rembrandt, Gauguin, and Monet influenced van Gogh’s art, and explore his journey from boyhood to adulthood with all the art, romance, family dysfunction and drama in between.

Games are more cerebral than fun in the traditional sense, and ask kids to do cool things like fill in van Gogh’s family tree using black and white daguerreotypes, match paintings to scenery as it exists today, pair sketches to original letters penned by the artist, and more.

Other areas of the app are like a living museum, offering interactive details–think timelines, photographs, artistic reproductions–organized into tappable tabs.

Navigation can be a little tricky at first, but the app does open with an introductory video explaining how everything is laid out and when to scroll, tap, or flick.

It’s a little more pricey than your average preschool gaming app but really well done for art history buffs–and their parents. -Pilar

Download Explore Vincent for iPad for $3.99 on iTunes.

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