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AR transforms National Gallery equine classics into My Little Pony portraits

My Little Pony augmented reality pictures at National Gallery

Visitors to London’s National Gallery will be able to transform ten of the museum’s most famous horse paintings into My Little Pony portraits in a new augmented reality (AR) experience.

The My Little Pony Magical Gallery has been launched this week to coincide with the upcoming release of My Little Pony: A New Generation on Netflix this Friday.

Free AR app

An AR app – free to all visitors and accessible through QR codes around the gallery – will use image recognition to instantly augment ten iconic horse paintings into the New Generation of Earth Ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi.

Classic paintings that are being reimagined include George Stubbs’ Whistlejacket and Theodore Gericault’s Horse Frightened By Lightning into Sunny Starscout, Izzy Moonbow and friends from the new film in what the gallery hopes will be a fun and educational interactive trail for families.

The paintings have been transformed and brought to life by children’s artist Rachael Saunders.

“It’s such an incredible honour to see my art augmented into The National Gallery in such a magical way,” Saunders said.

“Some of my favourite horse paintings are on display at the Gallery, and to share the same digital space with the likes of Rembrandt, Stubbs and Raphael is a surreal but thrilling privilege.”

Artist Rachael Saunders and model Jodie Kidd unveil the My Little Pony Magical Gallery

Artist Rachael Saunders and model Jodie Kidd unveil the My Little Pony Magical Gallery

The new virtual artworks will feature commentaries from stars of the upcoming film, including Jodie Kidd, who providing fun facts and friendly greetings.

“There are so many timeless masterpieces on show at the Gallery and this wonderful app does a fantastic job of helping make them even more accessible and entertaining, providing children with a thrilling treasure hunt,” Kidd said.

“I was brought up around horses and adored My Little Pony from a young age, so it was a childhood dream come true providing the commentaries on the app.”

The ten paintings transformed through the My Little Pony app are:

  1. A Hilly Landscape with Figures by Aelbert Cuyp (1655-60) becoming A Magical Landscape with Ponies by Rachael Saunders
  2. A Landscape with Horseman, Herders and Cattle, by Aelbert Cuyp (1655-60) becoming A Cliff Face With Hitch Trailblazer and Bunnies by Rachael Saunders
  3. Equestrian Portrait of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck (1637-8) becoming Equestrian Portrait of Izzy Moonow I by Rachael Saunders
  4. Portrait of Frederick Rihel on Horseback by Rembrandt (1663) becoming Portrait of Princess Pipp Petals by Rachael Saunders
  5. A Horse Frightened by Lightning by Jean-Louis-Andre-Theodore (1813-14) becoming A Pony Adorned With Lightning by Rachael Saunders
  6. Ovid among the Scythians by Eugene Delcacroix (1859) becoming Pipp Among the Hills by Rachael Saunders
  7. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza by Honore-Victorin Daumier (1855) becoming Sunny Starscout and Zipp Storm by Rachael Saunders
  8. The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur (1855) becoming My Fair Pony by Rachael Saunders
  9. Captain Robert Orme by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1756) becoming Deputy Sprout by Rachael Saunders
  10. Whistlejacket by George Stubbs (1762), becoming Starscout by Rachael Saunders

The app is live from today until 1 November. Visitors can access the app via QR codes within the gallery or download it from app stores, by searching ‘My Little Pony National Gallery’.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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