Masterpieces Get Minecraft Treatment By Prestigious Museum

November 26, 2014 | Rhett Jones

Minecraft is one of the most popular video games in the world — it’s available on most platforms and Microsoft seems to believe it has enough longevity to be worth $2.5 billion dollars. It’s fair to say that it is quite a bit more popular that stodgy old paintings from the early 20th century, so it makes sense that the UK’s Tate museums have begun an initiative to translate many of the imaginative, 2D painted worlds that they love into immersive 3D worlds that new audiences can discover via Minecraft.

Being that Minecraft is all about creativity, it makes a perfect fit for art. Children and adults alike play the game in which you “craft” worlds out of building blocks, adding on to a massive and complex universe that as of February of this year was bringing in $300,000 a day.

The administrators of the Tate went straight to the game developers to commission adaptations of two paintings: André Derain’s 1906 The Pool of London, and Christopher Nevinson’s 1920 portrait of New York, The Soul of the Soulless City. As of Tuesday, Minecrafters can now download the maps and get to know these famous works from the inside out.

The cynical may see it as a gimmicky bid for attention, and it is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s legitimately cool. Tate has commissioned four more pieces for 2015 and the initiative is bound to inspire others to recreate their favorite artworks. Personally, I want to be able to walk through a Hieronymus Bosch.

Check out the video above to see the work in action.


(Christopher Nevinson, The Soul of the Soulless City to the left of its Minecraft remix)

The Pool of London 1906 by André Derain 1880-1954

(André Derain, The Pool of London to the right of it’s Minecraft update)

(Photo: Tate)