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LEGO versions of the Mona Lisa, ‘Starry Night,’ coming to Boston

Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" is pictured at the “Art of the Brick” LEGO exhibit, which features works by Nathan Sawaya and opens Friday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” and Michelangelo’s “David” will all be on display in Boston starting Friday — their LEGO versions, that is.

An exhibition featuring over 90 works of art made entirely out of LEGO bricks by artist Nathan Sawaya will be on display on Newbury Street from Nov. 18 through April 23, 2023, according to a statement about the show.

The “Art of the Brick” exhibit last came to Boston in 2014, drawing more than 80,000 guests to its previous location of Faneuil Hall, the statement said. This year’s display is expected to be twice the size it was eight years ago.

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“For example, one gallery includes very whimsical works about the simple theme of play,” Sawaya wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. “While there is another gallery which displays more serious works that examine my own personal battles with depression.”

A piece called "Dinosaur Skeleton" is pictured at the “Art of the Brick” LEGO exhibit which features works by Nathan Sawaya. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“Art of the Brick” has been seen by more than 10 million people in 24 countries, the statement said. Sawaya currently has three other LEGO exhibits open, in Chicago, Budapest, and Brussels, according to his website.

Beyond the LEGO versions of famous works of art, Sawaya will show off a 20-foot LEGO Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and a gallery of LEGO brick-infused photographs created with photographer Dean West, the statement said.

Sawaya will also display a sculpture called “Yellow,” which depicts a figure tearing open its chest while thousands of yellow LEGO bricks spill out, he said in the e-mail. There will also be a “Pink Gallery,” featuring sculptures made out of pink LEGO bricks, including a giant chair for visitors to sit on.

Sawaya started creating LEGO sculptures as a lawyer in New York City, using the artwork as an outlet for stress, he said. Eventually he launched a virtual gallery for his sculptures, getting commission requests, and working around six to eight hours on his LEGO creations every night. Sawaya soon realized he should quit his day job and become an artist full-time.

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He had his first solo art show in 2007. Now, 16 years later, he’s a pro.

Nathan Sawaya's "White Skull, Red Skull, Light Gray Skull, Dark Gray Skull, Black Skull" at the “Art of the Brick” LEGO exhibit.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“Once I have a strong idea, I want to make a plan and envision the final piece before I even put down that first brick,” Sawaya said.

A lot of patience is required to make such detailed artwork out of tiny LEGO bricks, he said.

“As I am putting down those bricks, I am gluing each one together with a little bit of glue. So that means if I make a mistake, I have to use a hammer and chisel to break apart the work,” Sawaya said. “It can be heartbreaking, but that is part of the process.”

The show is at 343 Newbury St. For more details and ticket prices, visit artofthebrickexhibit.com.


Bailey Allen can be reached at bailey.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @baileyaallen.