The Stolen Art Gallery enables visitors, art lovers, and critics to interact in an immersive VR social experience hall with masterpieces that disappeared decades ago. 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, and Rembrandt’s only seascape, Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, which was stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990, in the biggest art heist in modern history.
In a metaverse twist, says the company, 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 wrist to have a miniature bust of Rembrandt materialize and share that he included a self-portrait in the boat, the only sailor in the painting looking back at the viewer.
The experience, says the company, helps understand why market research firm Gartner expects 25 percent of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse by 2026. Visitors can come much closer to the painting than they would in a physical museum and be able to notice the tiny Rembrandt’s half smile as he grabs on a boat stay amid the giant waves.
“The Stolen Art Gallery introduces the metaverse concept, replicating the experiences from online gaming platforms like Fortnite,” says 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. The public can now pay Cézanne’s work a visit and see two other missing works by Van Gogh and Manet just by donning a popular headset like the Meta Quest 2.
Users can connect with the story of these pieces of art through the company’s App, available in 2D for iOS, Android, and in 3D VR on the Oculus Quest.