Currently open at Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery, owned and curated by Drw (Drwyndwn Tyne), is an exhibition of paintings by the Dutch Masters who came to prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, and gave rise to important new genres in painting.
It can often be difficult to bring real-world art into Second Life and have it translate well enough to be fully appreciated, particularly when dealing with the works of artists like Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Ludolf Bakhuizen, Gerard van Honthorst, and so on, whose works are so well-known. However, this exhibition demonstrates that not only can it be done, but that if handled correctly, it can present a means of presenting masterpieces from all over the world in a single exhibit which might otherwise be next to impossible to achieve, and do so in a way that is entirely faithful to the originals.
Dutch Masters – Tyne’s Fine Art Gallery
Some 44 pieces are on display at the gallery, and care has been taken to ensure any copyrights held by the museums hosting the original pieces have not been violated. Each piece has also been reproduced in the precise aspect ration of the original, with an additional 15% added to allow for viewing in Second Life, thus adding to the authentic look of the pieces on display. The gallery itself beautifully reflects the look and feel of a classic physical world art gallery, with muted tones, and pictures all individually lit and presented with their own catalogue-style notes.
However, the power of this exhibition lies within the picture frames themselves. These have been scripted so that when clicked by a visitor, two options are displayed: Museum Card and Examine. The former will offer you a texture containing the notes accompanying the piece as presented by the gallery where it is displayed (and which matches the notes displayed under each of the pieces in Drw’s gallery).
Select Examine, however, and you’ll be invited to click the painting again. This will place your avatar in a seated hover position and focus your camera directly on the art (should your camera fail to orient itself after clicking the painting, tap ESC once to adjust it).
Thus, you are able to examine the painting in fine detail, almost as if standing before it in a physical world gallery.
The power of this method of presentation can be appreciated when viewing any of the pieces Drw has included in the exhibition. However, I would venture to suggest it particularly comes into its own when looking at those in the selection which might be regarded as being very familiar to the observer, such as with Rembrandt’s self-portrait (shown on the right – click for full size), the original of which is hanging in the National Gallery of Art.
This is a truly outstanding exhibition, bringing together a magnificent selection of art from the Dutch Golden Age which would otherwise be impossible to see under a single roof in the physical world. As such, it is an exhibit not to be missed.