LONDON (Reuters) - Fans of the hugely successful Minecraft video game will be able to play inside worlds envisioned in art from the collection of the Tate museums in Britain with free-download releases of two 3-D "Tate Worlds" starting on Monday.
Players in Minecraft, developed by Swedish company Mojang, can build nearly anything imaginable block by block in a digital world.
"Minecraft is a wonderful game which embraces imagination and creativity," Jane Burton, Creative Director of Tate Media, said in a statement on Thursday.
"It has captivated millions of children and young people across the world. In playfully reimagining art in Tate Worlds for Minecraft we hope to introduce a new generation to inspirational works from Tate's collection.”
The first two paintings inspiring the Tate worlds are Andre Derain's 1906 "The Pool of London" and Christopher Nevinson's 1920 painting of New York, "Soul of the Soulless City".
Derain's painting is a scene of a cargo ship and tenders with London's famed Tower Bridge in the background, while the Nevinson shows skyscrapers with the tracks of an elevated rail line starting in the foreground and running into the distance.
In "Tate Worlds: Soul of the Soulless City", players will enter the 1920s New York depicted in the painting and board a train taking them past New York landmarks of the time, then fast forward into the future as skyscrapers rise all around, Tate said.
"The sights and sounds of the 'Roaring 20s' will accompany the journey as the players build a skyscraper, join construction workers for a dangerous sky-high lunch and race to catch a movie," the museum said.
Six more "Tate Worlds" maps will be released over the coming year on the themes of 'Play', 'Destruction' and 'Fantasy', inspired by well-known artworks, the museum said.
These include John Singer Sargent’s "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" (1885-6), Peter Blake’s "The Toy Shop" (1962), John Martin’s "The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum" (1822) and Cornelia Parker’s "Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View" (1991).
The "Tate Worlds" were created in conjunction with "leading Minecraft mapmakers", the museum said, and will be available for download at (www.tate.org.uk/tateworlds).
Microsoft announced in September it is buying Mojang for $2.5 billion.
Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall