Transformation, rupture and renewal
This painting, crammed full of detail and symbolic meaning and painted with extraordinary technical mastery by Gossaert, is one of our most popular – but can we see and understand everything in front of us?
This experience takes us on a digital sight and sound journey to bring the hidden detail and themes in Gossaert's painting to life.
We’ll see the painting differently; hear sounds, music and poetry too.
You may want the experience to be a surprise, in which case skip this section, but if you prefer to know something about what happens in the experience, read on.
See the painting
When you enter Room 1, you see the painting in front of you, its luminous colours highlighted by bespoke lighting.
Enter Gossaert’s world
The pods are designed for one person or two people in a social distancing ''bubble'. In the pod, a short video will introduce you to the sonified painting and the simple movements which will allow you to zoom into the digital painting at specific moments.
You will then be taken on a guided journey of sight and sound through a super hi-res digital image of the painting, accompanied by a soundscape which fills the pod and the wider Gallery space and leads you to see elements you can easily miss.
As you become immersed in the painting, you’ll discover details you may not have seen at first, and perhaps, as you follow brushstrokes and fingerprints, even feel a little closer to Gossaert.
Explore the dog gnawing at a bone in the foreground; wonder why there are weeds and not flowers sprouting from cracks in the buildings; and what’s that written on the angel’s scroll?
Step back, look again, and hear the king
At the end of the 'journey' inside the pod, you'll step out and return to see and contemplate Gossaert’s physical painting on the wall with ‘new eyes and understanding’. Balthasar’s voice, brought to life through a poem by former Young People’s Laureate for London, Theresa Lola, fills the Gallery space. She expresses Balthasar's feelings on his journey away from this transformative moment in time.
The experience lasts about 13 minutes and visitors enter on a first come, first served basis at 15-minute intervals during opening hours (at 00, 15, 30 and 45 minutes past each hour).