While art institutions across the world have developed virtual spaces to contend with the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the Virtual Online Museum of Art (VOMA) is scheduled to open on Friday, August 14.

he digital museum, curated by London-based art dealer Lee Cavaliere, will feature masterpieces on loan from international institutions such as Musée d’Orsay, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Among them is Édouard Manet’s “Olympia,” which is currently housed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” and Caravaggio’s “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” will also be on view in the fully interactive virtual museum.

Each artwork, presented in high resolution, will be accompanied by a multitude of related media and references to enrich the virtual visit of art enthusiasts around the globe.

Additionally, VOMA will present commissioned artworks by international contemporary artists as part of its newly-launched Digital Firsts Commission Programme.

As the inaugural recipient of the Digital Firsts Commission, Kenya-born multimedia Phoebe Boswell will debut her latest piece along with a soundscape by Scottish-Nigerian singer-songwriter Bumi Thomas in VOMA’s Artist Space.

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“I believe art should be for everyone. The internet is the most inclusive and democratic public space we have, and it’s time we had a digital museum-style institution ready to inspire and connect online audiences with great art,” British artist Stuart Semple, who conceived VOMA, said in a statement.

While VOMA can be visited for free anywhere in the world, Semple has partnered with a global team of architects, CGI designers, gaming experts and curators to create a digital building that can adapt to any specific time zone or geographic location.

“Inside the ‘VOMA World,’ you will notice changes according to the time of day or the season; you will notice the environmental impacts of light, wind and rain,” a press release states.

A community feature also gives visitors the opportunity to see the routes other attendees have taken, read their reviews and even link up with friends visiting at the same time.

“We wanted to integrate the sense of community and buzz of going to a cool museum, where there are often so many different shows going on, and immersive or interactive experiences… We want our visitors to feel like this is their space, and we want them to want to come back again and again, whether to visit new exhibitions as the programme continues, or just to hang out,” Semple added.

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