The VR Museum of Stolen Art
Resurrecting Lost Art
The concept behind this museum is to display art that has been stolen and contextualize it within a gallery space that pays tribute to the artist. The advantage of creating this virtual reality space is that it allows the viewer to both see these lost works, while also “bending” time by placing the viewer in worlds few have seen before. Among the museum's collection are works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Vermeer. The combined value of this collection is more than $500 million. To secure the safe return of some of these works, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has set a reward of $10,000,000.
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633) - Rembrandt
"The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" is Rembrandt's only known seascape and is worth an estimated $100,000,000. On the night of March 15th, 1990, this painting, along with 12 other works, was stolen from the museum and never seen again. Two men, dressed as police officers, came into the museum, tied up the guards, and cut the paintings from their frames.
The first gallery is a recreation of The Dutch Room at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the scene of America's most expensive unsolved art heist. During the museum's original use as a private residence, this room was used to host lavish parties and receptions for Boston's elite.
The Concert (1664) - Vermeer
Worth an estimated $250 million, "The Concert" by Vermeer is the most expensive uncovered painting on record. It shows three figures, presumably members of the upper class (based on their clothing), playing instruments and singing. "The Concert" was also a victim of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist that claimed Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" and 11 others.
The gallery space is a recreation of Vermeer's 1650s Delft studio that is depicted in many of his paintings. The room utilizes custom models of period-specific furniture and tapestries for a more accurate, enhanced experience.
The Poppies (1887) - Vincent van Gogh
This piece by Vincent van Gogh, worth an estimated $55 million, was stolen twice from the same museum and remains unrecovered to this day. The first heist occurred in 1977. The painting was later recovered around 10 years later and returned to the museum. In 2010, the work was tragically stolen again and falsely reported as recovered. Painted later in Van Gogh's short career, The Poppies is a simple drawing of a vase of flowers on a wooden table.
The gallery inspiration for this piece was a street in Arles, France, most notable for Van Gogh’s depiction of a café at night. Here, I've recreated a low poly version of the still existing café and the surrounding parks and city streets.
Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (1609) - Caravaggio
The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence paints a scene of the birth of Jesus surrounded by his mother, Mary, two saints, and an angel. The $13 million painting has been missing since 1969. The painting was sliced from its frame and rolled up into a carpet, never to be seen again. Despite the unsolved disappearance of this masterpiece, the Oratory of St. Lawrence is once again able to enjoy the work via a recreation of the painting that is now placed above the altar.
I used the Oratory of St. Lawrence as a reference point for this stylized chapel space. The user is beaconed by a candle-lit altar where they can look up and witness the miracle.