Old paintings transformed into 3D

Elisabeth and the flood – Museum Dordrecht, Netherlands

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3D projections

Read 15th century paintings like a comic strip

Crawl inside  the Elisabeth panels in the Dordrechts Museum. In the past year, we have brought four 15th-century paintings (ca. 1495) to life in various 3D animations for the exhibition “Elisabeth and the Flood”.

We have tried to stay as close as possible to the original works of art. With the input of museum employees, it turned out that you can read every panel. Like a comic strip, so to speak. The exhibition can be viewed in the Dordrechts Museum until May 2022.

The making of…

But the project was also challenging and quite complex

Animation work

We have worked out different scenes for each painting. Lodewijk and Elisabeth, for example, have been brought to life for their wedding scene. The most spectacular are the scenes about the Elisabeth Flood of 1421, named after the aforementioned Elisabeth.

The end result consists of two animations of over 3×3 meters that alternate. The stories of the panels are shown in two steps. These are provided with a voice-over and appropriate music and singing. How can you really experience paintings? Well, this is the way to do it!


Normally the panels are in the Rijksmuseum, but for this exhibition the panels were brought to Dordrecht where they hang proudly in the middle of the room. Both animations can be viewed on the walls to the left and right. It was nice that the paintings can be viewed and downloaded in great detail on the site of the Rijksmuseum. This enabled us to work with the artworks in great detail. ( https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/rijksstudio/2765525- -artishock-productions/collections/quadruple-elisabethsfluent )

Behind the scenes

This project was worked on in various phases over a year. It’s not just about animation techniques, but also programming to achieve the right effects. What we found out during the project is that the original paintings w.b. perspective are painted in a naive way.

So, unlike a painting with realistic perspectives, you can’t simply arrange the objects like in the real world. In the video you can see that we had to make objects in the foreground exaggeratedly large and quickly scale objects moving away from the camera, for example, because otherwise both would not fit in the same scene.

Two of the four 15th-century panels:

The old panels have been transformed into a 3D experience

Close up van mannen met hun ' hebben en houden'
Vluchtende mensen worden geanimeerd
Als een kijkdoos is ieder paneel nagebouwd
De basis van Elisabeth - '3D character design'
De begeleidende engel krijgt vorm
Sommige van de dorpen zijn voor altijd verdwenen
Een 'wireframe' van de jongeman in boot
Elisabeth en Lodewijk in 3D in het schilderij geplaatst
Proost !
Elisabeth meer dan levensgroot
Op de vlucht voor het stijgende water

600 years Elisabeth Flood

In 2021/2022, dozens of parties throughout the delta region will extensively commemorate the 600th anniversary of the St. Elizabeth’s Flood. Under the heading 600 years Elisabeth flood. The Power of Water organizes a varied public program.

More information can be found at https://600jaarelisabethsvloed.nl/.

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