Walk into Van Gogh's Paintings with a Virtual Reality Tour

While graphic and computer art have evolved significantly over the course of the new millennium, the realms of immersive, virtual art are still in the process of forming and evolving. A recent splash in virtual art was made at the recently finished Triennial at New York’s New Museum, where artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrane created a piece of art viewable only through Oculus Rift. What we least expected was for these technologies to travel into the past and re-forge the work of the old masters, but that is precisely what has been done with a new virtual reality glimpse into the world of Van Gogh.

Created by video game developer Mac Cauley, the experience is titled The Night Café, a tribute to the iconic Van Gogh painting in which the tour kicks off. By the video’s end, the viewer will have made their way through the most recognizable entries in Van Gogh’s catalogue, from his self-portrait sans ear to his carefully wrought sunflowers with an essential stop in his infamous Starry Night. Cauley was able to render the essential Impressionist artwork using a VR headset designed by Samsung, but it was no easy task. “While the GearVR offered certain challenges with its technical limitations compared with a PC, it forced me to prioritize and really define what makes a Van Gogh painting unique,” he says on the project’s website.

Just the thought of good old Vincent entering a world of alternate reality is enough to make our heads spin, but watching the video is way more of a trip than we had bargained for. It’s a bold step into a direction of art that would previously have been unthinkable, and that one requires a considerable amount of getting used to, but nevertheless, we’re enthralled. There’s nothing quite like seeing the starry night for yourself.

Be sure to check out the project’s website here

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