Step Inside This Bizarre Bruegel Painting in VR

The VRScout Art Show presented by HTC Vive in partnership with VICE, Pulse and Google will have this Bruegel VR experience on exhibit during our event.

Have you ever stood in front of a painting and wondered what it’d be like to step inside and experience the scene as if you were there?

Well now you can thanks to the latest Google Cultural Institute project that transports you into one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s most bizarre paintings in virtual reality.


The VR project, created in partnership with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium, brings to life the Flemish master’s 1562 “The Fall of the Rebel Angels,” letting you hang out with all the peculiar creatures that cover its canvas. The Bruegel project is viewable on YouTube 360 but is best experienced with a Google Cardboard VR viewer.

The Bruegel 360° experience pulls you into the painting as a narrator walks you through the scene. You are surrounded by flapping wings of angel demons, butterflies, and monsters, some possibly inspired by Hieronymus Bosch (which we surprisingly also covered as a VR experience).

Virtual exhibitions were also setup physically in the museum, where visitors could view the experience either on special terminals or through what the museum is calling Bruegel Boxes (custom Google Cardboard viewers).


The VR experience is part of Bruegel: Unseen Masterpieces, a collaborative project between the Google Cultural Institute and eight major international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, London’s Royal Collection Trust, and Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst. Over 200 of Bruegel’s paintings, drawn from the collections of these institutions, were digitized and published online, allowing anyone with an internet connection to explore them through extremely high resolution images accompanied by detailed annotations.

From Dali to Bosch, the trend of bringing works of art to life in virtual reality only continues to grow. For museums and curators that are looking to drive more visits, bringing an entirely new perspective to these centuries old masterpieces through VR will definitely be an experience they will tell their friends about.

This is not the first time the Google Cultural Institute has brought viewers closer to art, having filmed an opera performance in 360° that transported users on stage with the performers. This does mark the first time the company has created a VR experience for an artwork masterpiece.

Image Credit: Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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