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The Stolen Art Gallery Provides A Virtual Way To Appreciate Missing Masterpieces


The Stolen Art Gallery Provides A Virtual Way To Appreciate Missing Masterpieces

Art Basel

In the world of art, there have been numerous masterpieces that have been lost to theft. Now thanks to technology, art aficionados can rediscover these impressive art pieces through the power of the metaverse. The Stolen Art Gallery aims to do just that.

This new immersive social experience is the brainchild of digital transformation company Compass UOL. The first of its kind, this metaverse museum allows art lovers to rediscover masterpieces that have been missing for decades.

Through the Stolen Art Gallery, visitors, art lovers, and critics can interact with masterpieces that disappeared decades ago. A major pull of the virtual museum is that it displays major works of art that have been stolen or are missing.

“The Stolen Art Gallery introduces the metaverse concept, replicating the experiences from online gaming platforms like Fortnite,” explains 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.”

Rediscovering Missing Art

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 the artist together with art. A mere tap of the wrist can bring a miniature bust of the artist to life revealing certain attributes or anecdotes about the painting.

This experience 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. For many, the Stolen Art Gallery provides an experience that many of the world’s art galleries are unable to deliver to visitors.

A New Way To Experience Art

Stolen Art Gallery

For one, visitors can come much closer to the painting that you would in a physical museum. You can also notice tiny Rembrandt giving you a half smile as he grabs on a boat stay amid the giant waves. As one young visitor said, “I was so close that I felt like I could lick the painting.”

In addition to providing an immersive experience into the world of art, the virtual gallery also serves as an excellent resource for art history. Take for instance, Cézanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise, which is on display.

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. All they need to do is don a popular headset like the Meta Quest 2 and take a step into this long lost world of art.

(Images: Compass UOL)


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