You can visit one of Britain’s most famous art galleries in Minecraft

The 'Minecraft' universe just got a little more cultured.


Aja Romano

Internet Culture

Published Apr 18, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 1:13 am CDT

It’s no secret that fans have recreated an endless amount of our world in the virtual playing fields of Minecraft. But since November, a cool new feature has been adding Britain’s Tate gallery to the virtual landscape Minecraft players can enjoy—one painting at a time.

The Tate has released full walkthroughs of three of the most famous works from its collection. The walkthroughs include background on the paintings, including virtual encounters with the artists themselves.

Players can download the maps, which are the first of eight to be released through 2015. Each map offers a virtual journey inside one of the museum’s most famous paintings. The first map, released in November, featured a walkthrough of André Derain’s The Pool of London

Since then, two more maps have been released: a walkthrough of Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson’s The Soul of the Soulless City (‘New York – an Abstraction’) and a walkthrough of Peter Blake’s The Toy Shop.

Here’s a comparison of The Toy Shop as Blake envisioned it and the way the shop looks in the world of Minecraft:

Tate Worlds: Art Reimagined for Minecraft is a collaboration between the museum and artist Adam Clarke and his fellow Minecraft fans at the collective known as the Common People. They include Clarke, map maker Dragnoz, and a group of dedicated builders who bring the elements of the map to life.

Here’s a look at The Soul of the Soulless City as it appears in the Minecraft version of the Tate Gallery, followed by a dizzying walkthrough of the game itself.

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This isn’t the first time that a game has been used to take viewers further into a painting. Last month saw the release of a game called SURREALISTa, based on a painting by Georges de Chirico, which takes players inside a surrealist landscape.

The introduction of modern art into virtual spaces seems to have engaged and energized the community. Already builders are hard at work on the rest of the maps to be released:

You can visit the Tate website for more information on how to download and explore the maps on your computer.

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*First Published: Apr 18, 2015, 3:32 pm CDT