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Tired of just looking at paintings? Now it’s time to get inside them! Discover art in a whole new way with VanGoYourself.com

Ever wanted to recreate a version of Vermeer’s Milkmaid in your own kitchen or get together with your friends on a Saturday night out and recreate the scene in Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper? A brand new website, VanGoYourself.com, designed to get people to rediscover and engage in classic paintings from around the world in a new and exciting way, will be launched on 15th May 2014.

VanGoYourself encourages you to recreate classic scenes from some of world’s most famous paintings in a contemporary setting, which you can then share with your friends on social media. The site will feature works from Masters such as Van Gogh or Rembrandt - with over fifty paintings from more than ten collections in seven European countries all just waiting to be recreated!

For the launch of the website, the Royal Museums of Belgium in Brussels, the Villa Vauban in Luxembourg as well as the Simeonstift in Trier und Saarlandmuseum in Saarbrücken reprensent the Greater Region. The partnership with collections and museums will grow with the evolution of VanGoYourself.
During the “Invitation aux Musées”, Plurio.net will organise a little “VanGoYourself Event” at the Villa Vauban, from 14h-18h, and will assist people in the recreation of paintings.

So how does it work?

First channel your inner artist then pick a classic painting from the selection on the VanGoYourself website. Get together with your friends to recreate the famous scene, take a snap and upload it to VanGoYourself, which will twin your new master with the original artwork for you to share on social media, thus immortalising your artistic talent for all to see!

The site allows you to choose the level of difficulty –do you want a painting that is ‘easy’ or ‘challenging’ to recreate? You can choose paintings with ‘selfie' potential or ones ‘for lovers’. The site is free and simple to use, and links up to existing widely used social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) van
The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) vanGo’d by the dinner ladies and staff of Merrylee Primary School

License of this image: CC-BY-SA
License of original image: Fondazione Federico Zeri - Università di Bologna - Public Domain

Who is behind it?

VanGoYourself is a Europeana Innovation created by a group of people who love museums, paintings and having fun. It is the brainchild of Culture24 in the UK and Plurio.net in Luxembourg, both non-profit, independent art entrepreneurs with a sense of humour. They have a track record of successfully working internationally to support arts and heritage venues to reach audiences online and to challenge the views of some people who think museums can be boring.

The work is part of Europeana Creative, a European Commission funded project to enable and promote the greater re-use by creative industries of cultural heritage resources aggregated by Europeana (www.europeana.eu). Europeana is a digital platform that makes Europe’s cultural heritage open and freely accessible in a range of ways and places. Anyone can explore, discover and share more than 30 million items from museums, libraries, galleries and archives across Europe at Europeana.eu from their mobiles, computers or tablets and Europeana’s API is available to creative and cultural organisations and industries.

VanGoYourself is a responsive webservice built in WordPress by Surface Impression in the UK. The design is by the Europeana Creative partner Spild af Tid in Denmark and the image twinning tool is built by the Europeana Creative partner Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna.

What is the background of the Europeana Creative project?

26 partners from 14 European countries are all working together in the Europeana Creative project, which is coordinated by the Austrian National Library and co-funded by the European Union through the ICT Policy Support Programme. Europeana Creative enables and promotes greater use of our digital cultural heritage by Europe’s creative industries. We develop innovative applications for education, tourism, social networks and design and run a number of open innovation challenge events with developers, entrepreneurs and heritage experts. For more information, visit us at [www.europeanacreative.eu] and join in the conversation @eCreativeEU .

What is the added value of VanGoYourself for museums and collections?

The service offers a genuinely different and surprisingly deep way for visitors to engage with heritage, based on emotion, playfulness and curiosity. As well as existing as a simple online service, the idea can be deployed by tourist offices, museums, cities, tour guides, etc to promote specific destinations, sites and events.

It provides the touristic sector with a way for audiences to have an emotion collection to a place through a playful interaction with its own cultural heritage. It has been built so that spin off collections of twinned images can be offered based on the collections from one specific city or museum. This can then be used to support live events, workshops and participatory activities and easily integrated into existing marketing schemes in a light weight and cost effective way.


Jane Finnis, CEO at Culture24, UK:
“If you love art, being playful and taking pictures then you are really going to have fun with this. There are some brilliant pictures to recreate from a selection of serious selfies you can do on your own or some more flamboyant historical scene where you will need to rope in your friends to help and lay your hands on a few props. Everyone can find a painting that they see themselves in!”

Frank Thinnes, project coordinator at Plurio.net, Luxembourg:
„It was a surprise how deeply users are drawn into the process and how they experience a more profound understanding of what a painting – and actually art – can be about.“

VanGoYouself user from Zagreb, Croatia:
“It was great to put a modern twist onto an old picture and play around with the meaning in a way that really expressed something about me”

[Media Coverage of VanGoYourself by the BBC]