See Vincent van Gogh's Sunflower paintings together for the first time, courtesy of Facebook

Using a mix of photography, virtual reality and CGI, the social media giant is creating a virtual exhibition of 5 of the post-Impressionist's most iconic works

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Do you fancy taking in a show on Monday night? Fans of Vincent van Gogh and all things high-tech should each find something to marvel at on August 14 when 5 of the post-Impressionist’s world-famous sunflower paintings are being brought together for the first time since they were painted in the 1880s.

The fact that this art historical feat is being achieved without moving the paintings from the 3 continents and 5 galleries they now call home is all part of the magic of Sunflowers 360, a Facebook-based event that’s using photography, CGI and virtual reality to create what’s being described as a “fully-immersive digital exhibition”.

Facebook promises that the results will make the paintings look as if they’re all being exhibited in the same room, despite the fact that they are actually in London, Philadelphia, Tokyo and Munich.

The event, which can be experienced using a 360 video on Facebook or a Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, is being accompanied by a series of Facebook Live events from each of the participating galleries, the first of which is being broadcast from The National Gallery in London at 5.50pm BST.

This will be followed by presentations from the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam at 6.10pm BST, the Neue Pinakothek in Munich at 6.30pm, the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 6.50pm and the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art in Tokyo at 7:10pm.

Painted in 1888/89, just a few months before his now infamous ear-cutting incident and incarceration in an asylum, Vincent Van Gogh completed at least 4 sunflower paintings during the time he spent at the Yellow House in Arles.

Van Gogh produced the paintings as a welcome for the artist Paul Gaugin, who was travelling to Arles to join the Dutchman on a painting trip. Vincent used the canvases to decorate the walls of his friend’s bedroom and saw them as an expression of his admiration for Gaugin and a symbol of their friendship.

“I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I’m at is the painting of some sunflowers. If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow,” Vincent wrote to his brother Theo in August 1888.

“I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now on the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 gives a singular effect.”

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