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Facebook unites Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in virtual 360 exhibition

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Facebook has used VR technology to create a 360 video and Gear VR app that unites all five of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers together in one virtual exhibition for the first time.

Located in five different locations around the world, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, painted in 1888 and 1889 in Arles, have never been exhibited together. Using photography of the original artworks, The National Gallery (London), Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Neue Pinakothek (Munich) and the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art (Tokyo) have all worked with Facebook to create this immersive digital exhibition.

“Visitors” will be able to look at the full collection through a 360 video on Facebook (below) or a Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. They will also be able to learn more about the Sunflowers paintings via a series of Facebook Live talks launching Monday 14 August. During each of the 15-minute live broadcasts, the five galleries will link up and discuss the paintings.

The video experience is narrated by Willen van Gogh, the great grandson of Van Gogh’s brother Theo and advisor to the Van Gogh Museum board.

“Rather like the Mona Lisa and The Night Watch, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are works of art that continue to intrigue and inspire… The virtual gallery and live stream now provides a novel way for art lovers young and old to admire these magnificent masterpieces, from all corners of the globe,” Willem says of the initiative.

Sunflowers 360 launches today (10 August) on the Facebook pages of each museum and through the Oculus store on Monday 14 August. The Facebook Live broadcasts kick off on the same day starting with The National Gallery at 17:50 BST.