Early 20th-century Paris is to be brought to life at Tate Modernwith a virtual reality room forming part of a blockbuster Modigliani show.
Visitors will be given headsets immersing them in the city, which was home to the Italian painter for more than a decade until his death in 1920 aged 35.
The move to the French capital brought Amedeo Modigliani into contact with innovative artists such as Pablo Picasso and had a major impact on his work. Although individual artists at Tate Modern have experimented with virtual reality technology, it is the first time the gallery has used it to this extent in a major show. Curator Nancy Ireson said the experience would be “quite extraordinary” and “enhance the feeling of the city”.
She said: “It is still very early days in terms of the actual content development, but what the show is really about is Modigliani in Paris— so it is a show about a city and about the experience of arriving in a different place and becoming somebody different.”
Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and André Salmon, 1916 (Public Domain)
The gallery has worked with tech giant HTC. Paul Brown, general manager of HTC’s virtual reality platform Vive Europe, said the use of VR could “revolutionise the way people create and experience art”. He said: “Our relationship with Tate is another step towards bringing people closer to art than ever before.”
More than 100 Modigliani works will go on display in November including portraits, sculptures and the largest group of his nudes ever to be shown in this country. The artist’s striking approach to painting nudes made his name. His only solo show became notorious when it was raided by Parisian police after complaints of indecency.
Ms Ireson said the paintings were made at an important stage in Modigliani’s career when he became more professional. “There is such a freedom in these works and they are so startling, the composition is very bold and you can really feel the figures pushed out into the front of the picture,” she said. “These are very modern nudes.”
The exhibition will also consider the influence of the women in his life, particularly the English poet Beatrice Hastings and another of his lovers, Jeanne Hebuterne, who killed herself in despair after his death from tubercular meningitis. Several portraits of her will be on show, including one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The show, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, runs from November 23 to April 1.