Art & CultureVR experiences

Art Through Lenses: VR Experience Explores the Life and Work of Baroque Painter Artemisia Gentileschi

History comes alive as the life and paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi are translated into an immersive VR experience.


When you think about history and art, what first comes to mind? Often, glimpses of the past can only be seen through still photos and framed exhibits hung on museum or gallery walls. However, VR experiences are changing the way people view and interact with the past, whether it’s an artwork or a person’s life, such as Artemisia Gentileschi’s.

Modern Technology as a Storytelling Medium

Today’s technology has paved the way for an immersive, interactive kind of storytelling that puts the audience front and center of a story and creates an entirely new perspective that can help add depth to the narrative. XR in particular has enabled spatial immersion for viewers. Paired with a compelling narrative, XR experiences add deeper context to the subject at hand, thus creating a more immersive, engaging, and relatable story for their audience.

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Through modern technology, such as XR, viewers are able to engage with art and learn more about the stories behind artworks and key historical figures. The award-winning immersive VR experience (Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow uses such technologies to bring the story of celebrated Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, along with her struggles and triumphs, to life.

Experience the Story of Artemisia Gentileschi Like Never Before

See the story behind one of Gentileschi’s famous artworks, Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Get a more intimate look at the world of Artemisia Gentileschi, how she rose against the challenges that plagued women like her in 17th century Europe, where women artists weren’t as welcome as their male counterparts, how she painted her story of overcoming the odds through her iconic works, and how she rose to become one of Europe’s most celebrated artists during her time.

Through this VR experience, created for Quest 2, which is narrated by accomplished Welsh musician Cerys Matthews, viewers will have the opportunity to learn more about the art and the artist that has shaped our world.

VR experience (Hi)Story of a Painting - The Light in the Shadow

(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow follows the first VR experience in the series, (Hi)Story of a Painting: What’s the Point?, which debuted at the 2021 SXSW. The first episode is available on Meta Quest for free

(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow VR experience is currently one of the main attractions at the Burghley House in Lincolnshire until August 31. It has world premiered to wide acclaim, having won the Special Jury Recognition for Immersive Storytelling at the SXSW 2022.

It will debut at the Venice Film Festival, as part of the “Best of Venice Immersive” selection, and will be part of the festival’s public experience from September 1 to September 6.

The Team Behind ‘(Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow’ VR Experience

This compelling narrative showcasing the life of Artemisia Gentileschi was created by a team of co-directors Quentin Darras and Gaëlle Mourre. Darras has been working in the 2D and 3D animation industry for over a decade, producing works for movies, games, and international campaigns for Nintendo, as well as immersive commercial projects for Honda and Octonauts.

Mourre is an immersive film writer and director. She is an alumna of several international film festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, and Venice Production Bridge. She has worked on several award-winning short films, including Awakening and The Feast. Mourre is also a 2022 Berlinale Talent.

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The VR experience is produced by Mourre and award-winning filmmaker Charlotte Mikkelborg. It is set to original music composed by British-Malaysian artist and composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman.

Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.