The Kremer Collection VR Museum

2-star rating
PCVR, Link
Art, Education, Free, Museums
Comfortable, Roomscale

The Kremer Collection comprises around eighty works of 17th century Dutch and Flemish old masters. This private collection is often loaned to museums and galleries around the world, but scans of the full collection are also available on their website and in their virtual reality museum.

The Virtual Reality gallery opens up into a large circular atrium with multiple spokes leading towards the paintings that are displayed on the room's perimeter. The paintings float off the wall, supposedly so you can inspect the backing "to explore the work's unique stamps of provenance" though every backing we looked at was a generic image. Interpretive text and narration in English is available for all of the paintings we inspected. Moving around the gallery is achieved with teleportation locomotion (pointing to where you want to stand) and you can move around in your space to take a closer look at the paintings.

A wall of floating Dutch old masters.

At first glance the paintings appear rendered in significant detail, but it doesn't take long to realize that much of the detail is achieved with a generic and somewhat reflective texture applied in front of the scanned image. We investigated further, comparing a VR gallery image of a painting against another version on the Kremer Collection website. The website version contains more detail and more dynamic range, making individual brushstrokes apparent in ways that are not visible on the smoothed VR version.

We question the value of a VR gallery where the viewing experience is diminished compared with simple flat-screen computer image, and loading up a web page on demand is much easier than downloading a 10GB art gallery in virtual reality. This failing may be more of a limitation in available technology than the intent of the authors of the program, but it may be a long while before computers are able to render the intricate three dimensional detailed brushstrokes of an Old Master.

Comparison: Website on the left, VR on the right.

✅ Elegant and clean presentation.
❌ Graphical detail of paintings is better on the website.
❌ No compelling reason for virtual reality.

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