Meta brings German exhibition into virtual reality

Meta brings German exhibition into virtual reality

You can now visit the “Magical Reflections” art exhibition in VR and even step inside a painting.

The exhibition runs through Feb. 20, 2022, at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin and can be experienced in digital form: on a PC or Mac, with a smartphone or in virtual reality.

The theme of the exhibition is the rediscovered German artist Johann Erdmann Hummel (1769 – 1852). The painter, who is little known to the general public, devoted himself with particular interest to original reflections, spatial interlacing and sophisticated lighting in his works.

Hummel also taught at the Berlin Academy of Arts on optics, perspective, and architecture, and conducted research on the laws of visual perception. His work in this area was internationally groundbreaking.

Experience Hummel’s art virtually

Meta created the digital art exhibition in collaboration with the Alte Nationalgalerie and the production studio Makemepulse. Thanks to WebXR support, you can start the VR experience directly from your browser without downloading an app. I tried it out with Meta Quest 2 and it worked well.

The 2D and VR versions of the virtual museum experience are almost identical, but in VR the exhibition visit is more immersive, and you can get very close to the paintings to see even the finest details.

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In VR, visitors are immersed in Hummel’s painting and can experience the scene in Berlin’s Lustgarten from new perspectives. | Image: Alte Nationalgalerie / Meta

The highlight of the VR experience is a jump into Hummel’s main work, “The Granite Bowl in the Berlin Pleasure Garden” (1831). The painting has been reconstructed as an immersive 3D scene in which you can move freely to view the constellation of figures from different perspectives and take photos.

This is how you start your virtual museum visit

“There are unusual opportunities for retracing Hummel’s intentions, but also opportunities for your experimentation, for your creativity. And at this point, Hummel’s spirit of research and joy of experimentation in constructing his visual worlds meet today’s interest in new media possibilities of visual perception and one’s own creativity,” says curator Birgit Verwiebe about the VR experience.

To start the application, come to this article again in VR via the Oculus browser and then click on this Link to Magische Spiegelungen. On the loaded page, you should then be able to switch from the 2D to the VR version. If necessary, tap “Allow” at the bottom right of the screen. Thereafter, the VR experience should start.

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Sources: Meta Newsroom, Freunde der Nationalgalerie, Blog der Alten Nationalgalerie