large hall

Arranged Realism - Art in Games


9 October 2021 to 23 January 2022 (large hall)


From drawing grassroots to determining the position of the sun, and everything in between. In making a game every detail of the world to be created is conceived and constructed by a team of designers and artists. The exhibition Arranged Realism – Art in Games shows how detailed the virtual worlds are, how they are made and especially: what enables us to have so much fun there.

Making a good game can be compared to producing a film. But the game-industry goes far beyond that and has for years been bigger than film and music industry together. The number of active game-players worldwide increased to 2.7 billion last year. And the Netherlands play an important part in this, both in players and in producers. For the game Horizon Zero Dawn the Amsterdam game-developer Guerrilla won the most prestigious awards, including a ‘Gouden Kalf’ (2017) and a Bafta (2018).  


The exhibition Arranged Realism – Art in Games shows constructions and worlds in virtual reality, 3D-prints of objects from digital worlds and interactive installations. Also on show are several forms of concept art made by the best digital painters in the world. Apart from Horizon Zero Dawn (2017, Guerrilla) there are presentations of games like Fallout 4 (2015, Bethesda Games), Desperados III Mimimi Games)

and Dishonored 2 (2016, Arkane Studios). Downright spectacular and never shown before are the two complete scenes from games that were reconstructed in 3D especially for the Museum Belvédère exhibition. Visitors to the museum will find out which games these are.


Art history as a source of inspiration


A winding road leading into a landscape, hikers venturing into a desolate wilderness or people aboard a ship that disappears in dark evening mists. These are style elements we know from paintings. The game-industry avidly uses the suggestive power of such images; they appeal to all our feelings of disturbing tension and great adventures. The works of Romantic artists, such as Caspar David Friedrich and Arnold Böcklin, are often direct or indirect sources

of inspiration. Whereas they usually painted their fantastic images on the basis of a religious world conception, the creators of comparable scenes in games, while referring to this, focus especially on the visual sensations of the character confronted with an awesome environment – a person seen from the back, as an extension or even an alter ego of the player, staring into the distance to explore this world. American luminism of the late 19th century and European naturalism in landscape painting of the same period for instance were a major source of inspiration for the overwhelming landscapes, atmosphere and lighting that you come across in Horizon Zero Dawn.

Whereas gamers see nothing but the final result of endless digital sketching, painting and designing, the finest concept drawings often remain unknown, just as their creators. In the past few years there has been a growing interest in gamemakers’ artwork. Concept drawings for example are nowadays offered in specialized galleries (Cook and Becker among others) and at international gamefairs. The exhibition Arranged Realism – Art in Games is the first to present a selection in a museum.



The exhibition Arranged Realism – Art in Games is accompanied by a publication (only in Dutch) under the same name, composed and written by Merijn de Boer, with an introduction by Han Steenbruggen, director and conservator of Museum Belvédère. It also contains contributions by renowned (inter)national game developers. The richly illustrated book was designed by Gert Jan Slagter and is published by Museum Belvédère, in collaboration with Uitgeverij Noordboek. It is for sale in the museum shop and from the museum’s webshop. Price: € 19,95.

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Merijn de Boer


Merijn de Boer, of Indietopia, a platform for game development in Groningen, initiated the exhibition and also assists in arranging it. Merijn de Boer has been playing games since he learnt to ride a bicycle. Next to cycling and walking in real nature he likes to hang around in digital forests, climbs a virtual mountain on a daily basis and is astonished time and again at the splendour and fun you find in games.

Arranged Realism – Art in Games was made possible with the help of FB Oranjewoud, Rabobank Zuidwest Friesland, Provincie Fryslân, Gemeente Heerenveen and Creatieve Vouchers Groningen.