As 2D paintings, they are striking enough.
But fans of four key surrealist works can now step inside them for the first time, as Sotheby’s launches virtual reality paintings.
The auction house has become the first to commission designers to create a 360 degree experience, translating the original paintings into a lived experience through Occulus Rift headsets.
Visitors will be able to see Dali’s horse and cart trot past them, while Magritte’s lion growls gently as is prowls around them.
The technology has been installed in Sotheby’s galleries for its forthcoming surrealist sale, and is part of its digital strategy to lure new, tech-savvy buyers to appreciate its works.
Four separate VR programmes will showcase its four key works, including Salvador Dalí’s Moment de Transition, with the painting estimated at £6.8 million.
The VR will allow potential buyers to see close-up versions of each surrealist element, including an empty horse and cart, as well as an imagined version of what would be “behind” them in a 360 degree view.
René Magritte’s Le Repas de noces will bring a lion to life, underneath the painting estimated at up to £1.2m. The two other experiences will detail André Masson’s Hotel des Automates, estimated at up to £2m, and Paul Delvaux’s Filles au bord de l’eau at up to £2.2m.
Above: Potential buyers can see close-up versions of each painting CREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
Nigel Hilditch, director of video for Sotheby’s Europe, said the VR technology would add to the depth of understanding of each painting, capturing the atmosphere as close to the artist’s original intentions as designers could manage.
The finished product had won over Sotheby’s surrealist specialists, he added, and was intended as a “complementary” offering alongside the traditional exhibition of paintings.
The auction house is understood to have waited for the surrealist sale to deploy the technology, believing the paintings were best suited to the experience, but may roll it out to other departments if successful.
Versions of the videos are now available to view online.