What if you could know what the characters in your favorite painting were thinking? Thanks to an innovative mediation experiment created by the Musée d’Orsay and the Orange Foundation, that's now possible for The Artist’s Studio.
The Artist’s Studio by Gustave Courbet is currently undergoing a major restoration in public following a successful crowdfunding campaign. While visitors can watch the restorer work in a large glass cage located in a room of the museum, they can also create an even deeper connection to the painting thanks to virtual reality. By pointing on the characters in the painting with one of the several available iPads, visitors unlock content giving them keys to understand the painting, its historical context and insights about Courbet’s life (in French, English and Italian).
The immersion starts as soon as you put the headphones on, with great surround sound that taking you straight back to the nineteenth century. Each character - the painter himself, the naked woman next to him, an art promoter… - tells its own story and is made incredibly realistic thanks to talented actors speaking in the first person. To make the experience really pedagogical, each character’s testimony is enriched with pictures and references to the era and to other works but is still short enough to keep the visitor’s attention throughout.
For those who want to take the discovery of The Artist’s Studio one step further, there is a puzzle allowing to reunite the seven pieces the painting is made of. And to satisfy visitors who’d like to have more time to watch and listen to the content or for those who could not come to the museum, the website entrezdanslatelier.fr recreates the experience at home.
We love the project so much that we invited Eric Jouvenaux, online content editor and community manager at the Musée d’Orsay to talk about it at #wam15. Don’t miss it!
By Andrea Goulet