If you’ve always wanted to view the original paintings by Renaissance artist Bruegel the Elder but circumstances haven’t allowed you to travel to the museums housing them, then this newest project from the Google Cultural Institute may just allow you to do so, at least virtually. They are teaming up with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and eight other museums around the world in order to bring us the Bruegel / Unseen Masterpieces project, combining art, virtual reality, and technology to bring you there digitally.
Because most of Bruegel’s works haven’t traveled for more than a hundred years due its fragility, Google had to work with the museums to carefully create ultra-high resolution gigapixel images of the paintings to create an online gallery for his works of art. A lot of his paintings actually deserve a real closer look since there are a lot of details that you may miss and also several almost-hidden scenes. You even get a personal art historian to take you through the paintings in the 19 online exhibitions that showcase his life and work.
Even cooler, you get to immerse yourself in a 360-degree video of Bruegel’s The Fall of the Rebel Angels. It is “an experiment to explore how modern technology can supercharge the museum experience,” according to Google. The video is available on YouTube and also the mobile app of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium. You can view it using your Google Cardboard or even without a VR headset (but of course it’s better if you have the headset).
But for actual visitors at the museum, you’ll get to experience the Bruegel Box, a room with wall-to-wall projections of three paintings and once you enter with your VR headset. In actuality, only one of the paintings is actually there while the other two are in Berlin and Budapest. You can explore Bruegel and other virtual galleries when you download the Google Art app.