Louvre Museum: “Augmented Egypt”, a series of innovative and educational experiences in augmented reality
Snap’s AR Studio and the Louvre Museum unveil “Augmented Egypt”, a series of innovative and educational experiences in augmented reality to be enjoyed in the rooms of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities and in the Carré courtyard of the Louvre Museum, thanks to the technologies offered by Snap.
“Snap’s AR Studio aims to educate and inspire the world about the possibilities of augmented reality in the art, education and culture sectors. We are honored to have been able to collaborate with one of the most emblematic French cultural institutions, the Louvre Museum, in order to reveal, using our technologies, certain secrets of Egyptian Antiquities. With more than 250 million people around the world interacting with Snapchat’s augmented reality every day, its use is booming and its use is evolving day by day, particularly towards educational and cultural uses. Through these augmented reality experiences, we wanted to offer new perspectives to cultural mediation at the Louvre Museum by offering visitors an interactive and immersive experience to deepen their discovery of the works”.
Donatien Bozon Director of AR Studio
“I am delighted with this unique experimentation with Snap’s AR Studio around augmented reality. This fascinating dive into the beauty of the masterpieces of ancient Egypt is also a fantastic discovery and mediation tool for all our visitors. This successful collaboration highlights the extent to which these new technologies can support the Louvre in its missions so that it remains a place where we are surprised, where we learn to see and where we transmit knowledge differently”.
Laurence des Cars President Director of the Louvre Museum
When in 2021 Snap Inc. decided to invest in France by creating in Paris the first augmented reality studio dedicated to culture, art and education, its teams immediately thought of the largest museum in the world, the Louvre. From the first meeting, the collaborative project with the department of Egyptian Antiquities led by Vincent Rondot, spontaneously emerged around the idea of restoring color and life to a selection of works using Snap’s cutting-edge technologies in terms of augmented reality.
These unique experiences reveal the shapes, materials, colors and decorations of the selected works, all of which have disappeared over time, leaving only bare stone. Thanks to augmented reality, uses become clearer, works come alive again. The three-dimensional reconstructions of missing elements, the virtual restitution of the original pigments and the creation of masks, were designed by the AR Studio teams in close collaboration with the curators of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre from a corpus of archives and references. Snapchatters around the world can also enjoy a Louvre-inspired experience, available anywhere in the world.
Interactive and free, this tool invites visitors to take a whole new look at the works.
When augmented reality comes to the Louvre Museum
By simply scanning the QR Code positioned on the work’s cartel with their smartphone or by opening the Snapchat camera, visitors to the museum can trigger several experiences inside the rooms of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. These experiences are available for a period of one year:
The Naos of Amasis
The bas-reliefs faded into the pink granite on the 4 faces of the Naos reappear and are available for reading by scholars or contemplation for all visitors. The statue of the god Osiris, who received ritual offerings and daily worship behind the wooden doors of the naos, a small chapel installed in the most secret part of the temple, thus takes back its original place and function thanks to augmented reality.
The Chamber of Ancestors
The Chamber of Ancestors regains its colors and is adorned with lively and luminous pigments, paying homage to the dynasties of kings who preceded Pharaoh Thutmose III on the throne of Egypt.
The Zodiac of Dendera
The relief ceiling appearing on the vault is inspired by the Babylonian, Egyptian and Greco-Roman systems, is revealed in three dimensions and its purpose, particularly subtle and complex, is explained to visitors.
In the museum’s Cour Carrée, Jean-François Champollion’s vision is revealed thanks to augmented reality
201 years ago, in September 1822, Jean-François Champollion found, thanks to the famous Rosetta Stone, the key to understanding which would make it possible to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. In gratitude for the service thus rendered to ancient Egypt by Champollion, the Viceroy of Egypt Méhémet Ali announced in 1830 that he was offering Charles X and France the two obelisks erected in front of the temple of Amun in Luxor. The positioning of these obelisks was first planned in front of the Perrault colonnade, the eastern facade of the Louvre museum, then Jean-François Champollion imagined placing an obelisk in the square courtyard of the museum. The unique obelisk transported to France was finally erected on October 25, 1836 at Place de la Concorde.
To pay homage to Champollion’s original vision, the Concorde obelisk of 222 tonnes of granite is now installed virtually on its original base in the center of the square courtyard of the Louvre thanks to augmented reality and Snap’s Custom Landmarker technology.
Egyptian masks to try in augmented reality, all over the world
The AR Studio and the Louvre Museum wanted to offer an accessible experience to Snapchatters around the world. Thanks to a “Face Lens”, commonly called a filter, they can put themselves in the shoes of an ancient Egyptian woman or man, by adorning themselves with their funerary masks reconstructed in 3D and faithful to those exhibited in the museum of Louvre.