The National Gallery brings Old Master back to the Italian home using virtual reality

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Visitors to the National Gallery will be able to view a painting by Italian master Paolo Veronese in his home church using virtual reality technology.

he Consecration of Saint Nicholas was commissioned in 1561 as an altarpiece to hang at San Benedetto al Po in Mantua, and helmets will allow art lovers to see the piece in situ for the first time in over 200 years.

The altarpiece was added after the church was radically remodeled and enlarged in 1539 by Giulio Romano, a pupil of Raphael.

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Visitors wear helmets (National Gallery/PA)

Visitors wear helmets (National Gallery/PA)

It remained there until the 1820s, when it was removed during the Napoleonic Wars.

Free 20-minute sessions will be available from March and will feature a choice of two virtual guides – curator Dr Rebecca Gill, who will explore the painting and frescoes, or historical figure Abbot Asola, who commissioned the painting in Veronese.

The exhibition grew out of a research and development project to determine how the National Gallery can share its research with a wider audience using immersive technologies.

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The Consecration of Saint Nicholas (National Gallery/PA)


The Consecration of Saint Nicholas (National Gallery/PA)

The Consecration of Saint Nicholas (National Gallery/PA)

It will be accompanied by a recording of a Gregorian chant, performed by Veneti Cantores, which was performed at the time the painting was created.

Dr Gill said: “Through this project we are able to bring architecture into the gallery and allow our visitors to explore for themselves what it might have been like to stand in front of the painting. of Veronese about 500 years ago.”

Lawrence Chiles, Head of Digital at the National Gallery, said: “Virtual Veronese gave us insight into how immersive storytelling can add depth of experience, meaning and emotion to the engagement of Gallery visitors. with our paintings.

Virtual Veronese runs from March 7 to April 3, 2022 at the National Gallery in London.

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