Bruegel, Unseen Masterpieces

16 March 2016 - 16 March 2020

From 16 March 2016 to 16 March 2020 you can immerse yourself in the masterpieces of Pieter Bruegel the Elder at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, through a wide spectrum of virtual and onsite experiences. Bruegel's works of art - many of which are so delicate that they have not been displayed for over 100 years - are now to be brought together using some pioneering technology.

Using images in ultra-high resolution ‘Bruegel, Unseen masterpieces’ can now be experienced from the inside out. In the paintings you will discover unexpected details which are at the very peak of this Flemish Master's expertise. Bruegel and his works are known throughout the world, but each composition includes many different characters - some surprising, some familiar - and portraits that pass comment on the past: each one is a masterpiece and certainly well worth discovering.

Michel Draguet, Managing Director at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, explains just why this exhibition is so special: “Most of Bruegel's paintings are on wooden panels and are extremely fragile, making them difficult to move around. Using this new technology future generations will be able to see these works, which have outlived their own history. In detail, in every possible way, with no restrictions, wherever and whenever they want to. Technology creates a new kind of dialogue between visitors and paintings in the museum. Using a blend of screens and paintings you can now take a virtual step into the works of art, allowing you to get to know them better and to experience new stories. Combining art and technology makes it possible for secrets to be revealed that until now were hidden from the general public."

The exhibition includes 19 virtual displays of the painter's masterpieces and documentation on his life, what influenced him and what he has left behind, and these are accessible to everyone using the website of the Google Cultural Institute. 12 of these multimedia displays can be seen in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium on interactive terminals that have been developed specifically for this project.

Using the specially developed ‘Bruegel Box’ you are literally absorbed into the painting. In one of the galleries in the museum immersive videos - each one dedicated to one particular painting - are projected onto three walls, from the floor right up to the ceiling, thanks to a sophisticated system of projectors and ultra-high resolution images. You stand shoulder to shoulder with the villagers in Bruegel's painting ‘Nederlandse Spreekwoorden’ (Dutch Proverbs, 1559), eye to eye with the palm reader on canvas in ‘De prediking van de Heilige Johannes de Doper’ (The Preaching of St. John the Baptist, 1566) or dive into the work ‘De val van de opstandige engelen’ (The Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1566).

Finally, the ‘Google Cardboard virtual reality’ also offers the viewer another innovative experience. Using your smartphone you are immersed in a 360° universe around ‘De val van de opstandige engelen’. The painting comes to life before your very eyes, and you become one of Bruegel's characters.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.