Imagine being able to walk to a 17th Century Dutch and Flemish masterpiece and being able to examine the surface up and colors up-close, as well as each work’s unique stamps and its record of ownership its back. Imagine being able to view such a collection from wherever in the world, accessible to all. Imagine a museum built without gravity, plumbing or code regulations. Now discover the Virtual World of the Kremer Museum and George Kremer’s vision.
The Virtual Reality (VR) museum designed by architect Johan van Lierop, Founder of Architales and Principal at Studio Libeskind, opened its doors on Thursday, October 26, 2017. The exclusive event took place at Sotheby’s New York for guests from the art world and technology industry and introduced its Collection made accessible exclusively through Virtual Reality technology.
For the creation of the museum, each painting has been photographed between 2,500 and 3,500 times using the ‘photogrammetry’ technique to build one ultra-high resolution visual model for each painting, allowing the museum’s visitors to enjoy a deeply immersive experience with the paintings. Using VR technology, visitors will be able to examine the artworks’ surface and colors up-close, as well as view the reverse of the paintings to explore each work’s unique stamps of provenance.
“I think VR is to the 21st century what Dutch Realism was for the Golden Age, allowing the observer to escape into an alternative reality or mindset. Architecture often uses VR to enhance a project’s representation before it is built, often for real estate sales purposes, but using VR to embrace architecture as a spatial experience on itself was unique to me. VR opens up a whole new realm of the architectural practice, where ideas and concepts are no longer bound to the limits of passive visuals but can be a fully immersive experience.” said Johan van Lierop, architect.
The Kremer Museum may be the first virtual museum of its kind. It features meticulously recreated paintings in a space whose design calls attention to the scientific and artistic vigor of the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age. It hopes to be a “leap forward in making it possible for the public to experience masterworks in a museum setting, regardless of background and location.”
The Kremer Collection is a privately owned group of around 74 works of Dutch and Flemish 17th-century art. It was founded in 1994 by George and Ilone Kremer with new acquisitions made regularly and from various schools and genres throughout the Collection, such as Caravaggism/Utrecht, Leiden, Delft, Haarlem, Amsterdam, genre interiors, landscape painting, history painting, Italianate art, marines, and portraits.
The Collection contains masterpieces by, amongst others, Rembrandt, Abraham Bloemaert, Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerrit Dou, Frans Hals, Meindert Hobbema, Gerrit van Honthorst, Pieter de Hooch, Jan Lievens, Paulus Moreelse, Michael Sweerts, Jan Baptist Weenix, and Emanuel de Witte.
Over the past 20 years, the Collection has traveled the world and, many of the artworks have been on display in a variety of exhibitions and on long-term loans with international museums. The artworks can be seen at The Mauritshuis, The Hague; the National Gallery, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
In the coming months, the Collection will host exclusive pop-up events with a full VR set-up. The event dates are to be announced on the Kremer Collection’s website as plans firm up but it doesn’t end there. In conjunction with the opening of the museum, the Kremer Collection is also launching the TKC Mighty Masters program, which will provide VR tools to select schools around the world to fully access the gallery.
The program has partnered with India’s Delivering Change Foundation to host a drawing contest for over one million children in India. Closer to home, on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, a group of 20 children from Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx, NY were invited to be the very first visitors to the museum with Joël Kremer, Director, Kremer Collection and Co-Founder, Kremer Museum attending. “The children’s uncensored and overwhelmingly positive response to the museum blew me away. To me, the fact that they referred to it as a game and their eagerness to learn more about what they were looking at illustrated how exciting and interactive the museum is for all, ” said Kremer.
In early 2018, the museum will release a mobile application on Google Play Store for Daydream that will allow people to visit the museum with any Google Daydream-ready smartphone and VR mask. What do you think of technology and art world collaborating? Would you be interested in seeing a painting using VR goggles? We would love to hear back from you and let us know if you get to experience the Virtual World of the Kremer Museum.
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Photos: Kremer Museum