This Christmas, you are invited to step into the nativity scene created by 16th century Flemish artist Jan Gossaert in impressive 4D, through soundscapes, spoken word and hi-resolution digital imagery.

Designed and produced by the National Gallery in London, the innovative and ground-breaking exhibition will be on display in the historic and atmospheric setting of the Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey.

Torre Abbey is the only venue in the south west that Sensing the Unseen: Step into Gossaert’s ‘Adoration’ is visiting.

The exhibition which runs from 3 December 2022 to 19 February 2023, is a multisensory experience that transports you into the world of Jan Gossaert’s ‘Adoration of the Kings’. The 3D perfect replica of the painting (produced by Factum Arte) showcases the depth of the paint, the vivid colours, and exquisite details of this 16th century masterpiece. It is complemented by a soundscape, the squawking of birds, the chink of the bridles and the voice of King Balthasar.

Using digital technology, you can experience one of the National Gallery’s most popular paintings like never before. The exhibition space will comprise of the full-scale replica painting, flanked by three yurt-like pods. Inside each pod, you’ll encounter a digital image of the painting, which is has been ‘sonified’ using soundscapes, spoken words, music, and a poem. As you step into the experience you can discover and navigate previously unseen elements.

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said; “Having an exhibition on loan from the National Gallery is amazing news for Torbay and shows how respected and credible Torre Abbey has become as a venue. This is the only place in the south west that the exhibition is coming to and has proved incredibly popular everywhere it has visited, including Winchester Cathedral and the National Gallery itself.”

Booking for the experience is essential, with timed ticket slots available every 20 minutes (within Torre Abbey’s opening hours). To secure a preferred date and time, those wishing to experience this unique and fascinating exhibition are encouraged to book as far in advance as possible as only six people can view at one time.

Entry to the experience is included within the main entry ticket price to Torre Abbey or is an additional £4.50 for 1196 Club Members.

Evening viewings are available until 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, starting from 3 December.

Bookings can be made now via Torre Abbey's website

Torre Abbey is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am until 5pm. Open bank holiday Mondays, except Christmas holidays.

What the national press had to say about the exhibition

Imagine standing in the middle of a Christmas card scene
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times
A sonic blast that captures the spine-tingling awe of Christmas
Alistair Sooke, The Telegraph
The is a new way of looking at paintings, and a new way of making exhibitions…The result is a joy, whether you’re 12, 24, 42 or 107…It’s the coolest thing. I can’t wait to see which masterpiece is next
Nancy Durant, Evening Standard
A Christmas miracle!
Time Out

News archive