Vincent Van Gogh’s five iconic Sunflower paintings are to go on show alongside each other for the first time thanks to Facebook Live.
The social network will help break a tradition, which has seen each painting languish in isolation around the world for decades.
With galleries reluctant to let go of their biggest crowd pleasers and concerns from conservators about the fragility of the paintings, the works of art have hung apart despite repeated attempts to reunite them. However, this stalemate has now been broken after the National Gallery revealed it would stage a ‘virtual exhibition’ on Facebook Live.
Susan Foister, deputy director of the National Gallery, said: “To get them all together physically would be pretty challenging and might take quite a long time.
“The fact that you can actually bring them together digitally was a solution that really appealed to us, particularly just now with all the experimenting we’ve started to do with Facebook and virtual reality.”
The next best thing to a physical show the decision will give art lovers their only likely opportunity to view the pieces in-situ alongside each other rather than rack up air miles travelling from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich to the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, Tokyo.
In practice this will take the form of a live relay with curators lifting the curtain on their own individual work for 15 minutes before passing the baton to the next in line.
Fans of Van Gogh's work were previously offered the opportunity to spend a night in the artist's bedroom by Airbnb.