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Netherlands: Looted art stories take centre stage at Mauritshuis museum in the Hague
17/09/2023 19:58 in World News

Looted works of art take center stage at the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, Netherlands.


 “Loot – 10 Stories” highlights 10 objects and their stories using virtual reality (VR).


 The exhibition focuses on three stages:

colonial art was looted, art thefts were committed by French revolutionaries in 1795, and works of art were stolen by the Nazis from Jewish owners.


 The works come from the collection of the Mauritshuis, but also from three Berlin museums (Museum of Ethnology, Stadtmuseum, Gipsformerei) and the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes (France).


 “A museum is there to make these objects  more beautiful, but we don't make them more beautiful. The light works as you can see here. So with a VR setup, you put on the glasses and the VR setup, then you dive into the booty moment. So  as a tourist, you witness  the loot and then the object itself tells the story. It is about the biography of the objects and the objects tell the story to you as a tourist,” explains Marine Grosselink, director of the Mauritshuis.


 Rembrandt's self-portrait from 1669 is one of the works of art viewable in VR. The painting was owned by the Jewish Rathenau family but was confiscated by the Nazis during World War II.


 Another highlight is the Quadriga at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. It was sacked by Napoleon in 1806.


 In the exhibition, art duo Jongsma+O'Neill uses a VR experience to present the history of  looted objects.


 “We were very intentional with these experiences to  draw people into the story. It's not a special story. You're essentially going back to a time when you were unreachable. It's like you've stepped into a time machine, explains Kel O'Neill, co-curator of the exhibition.


 “Loot – 10 floors” takes place from  September 14, 2023 to  January 7, 2024.

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