Old Masters Enter the Digital Age In Breathtaking Exhibit from MPC

FX Studio Behind 'Life of Pi' Teams With Artists Rob and Nick Carter to 3D Print Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' and Make Still Lifes Move

Published On
Oct 10, 2013

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London VFX company MPC has collaborated with British artist duo Rob and Nick Carter to bring some world-famous Old Masters paintings to digital life. The digital artworks are currently on display at London's Fine Art Society at an exhibition called "Transforming." They include a 3D-printed version of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" (claimed to be first time 3D printing has been used in fine art) and four "digital paintings" that come to life before the viewer's eyes.

MPC, known for its stunning VFX on movies including the "Life of Pi" as well as its commercials work, has spent four years working with the artists on transforming paintings such as "Dead Frog with Flies" by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger. The digital version depicts the scene from the last few minutes of the frog's life, extending through the various stages of decay to its ultimate decomposition.

Another exhibit, "Transforming Still Life Painting" brings to life a still lIfe oil painting from 1618 by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. The original painting is depicted on a high resolution Apple screen as animated time-lapse sequence over a three-hour loop. MPC created a huge database of hand-animated footage for every flower in the original painting, as well as creatures such as butterflies, ladybirds and flies.

A re-creation of "Sleeping Venus" by Giorgione blends live footage of a sleeping model (Ivory Flame) with digitally generated imagery (see above, and This video shows how MPC rendered the 3D backgrounds). The artwork is shown on a HD/4K screen, only launched last year, and viewers can see the model breathe and open her eyes if they watch very closely over a period of time. See some images from the exhibit below, but, trust us, to see how remarkable it truly is you'll have to experience the work in person.