The Stolen Art Gallery Opens its Doors in the Metaverse
The Stolen Art Gallery, the first metaverse museum that displays major works of art that have been stolen or are missing, is now live. Visitors, art lovers, and critics can interact with masterpieces that disappeared decades ago in this immersive social experience hall, created by digital transformation company Compass UOL.
The gallery includes Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence, stolen from an oratory in Sicily, Italy, on a stormy night in October 1969. Rembrandt’s only seascape, Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, is also there. Burglars took it from the Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990, in the biggest art heist in modern history.
In a metaverse twist, the Stolen Art Gallery brings back artist together with art. As moonlight filters from a skylight into the darkened warehouse of the gallery and visitors hear the crashing storm at sea, they can tap their wrists to have a miniature bust of Rembrandt materialize and share that he included a self-portrait in the boat, the only sailor looking back at the visitor from the painting.
Compass UOL says visitors can come much closer to the painting than they would in a physical museum and notice tiny Rembrandt giving them a half smile as he grabs on a boat stay amid the giant waves. One young visitor said, “I was so close that I felt like I could lick the painting.”
Watch the video below to learn more about The Stolen Art Gallery.
“The Stolen Art Gallery introduces the metaverse concept, replicating the experiences from online gaming platforms like Fortnite,” said Alexis Rockenbach, CEO of Compass UOL. “It is more about immersive social interaction than just the virtual reality environment—you can interact with your friends around the art pieces, discuss your impressions, make sketches, and share notes and information about the artist, the paintings, and their stories.”
The gallery also includes Cézanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise, stolen from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, 1999. It was a carefully planned raid that must have netted the burglars millions, prompting Cezanne to comment that he lived all his life in poverty. At least the public can now pay him a visit and see two other missing works by Van Gogh and Manet just by donning a popular headset like the Meta Quest 2.