Winchester Cathedral will be hosting a new art exhibition later this month.

Opening on January 22, the exhibition Sensing the Unseen: Step into Gossaert’s ‘Adoration’ was designed and produced by the National Gallery, London.

At the heart of the exhibition, which is touring from the National Gallery for the first time, is a 3-D facsimile of Jan Gossaert’s ‘Adoration of the Kings’ - a magnificent oil painting from 1501-15 that depicts the familiar Christian nativity scene in which shepherds, animals, angels and the three kings, have come to worship the infant Christ.

The National Gallery has brought the painting to life by creating an immersive digital experience using innovative technology.

Alison Evans, chief operating officer at Winchester Cathedral, said: “We are delighted that Winchester Cathedral will be the first venue to host this hugely-engaging exhibition from the National Gallery.

“We want as many people as possible to come and experience this new way of looking at art where, with the help of digital technology, visitors feel they are transported into Jan Gossaert’s painting.”

Located in the North Transept of the Cathedral, the exhibition space will house the large facsimile painting, spot lit against a black backcloth flanked by three yurt-like pods.

Inside the pods, visitors will encounter a screen featuring a digital image of the painting, which has been ‘sonified’ using a soundscape comprising ambient sound, spoken word and music created by sound artist, Nick Ryan.

Interactive digital imagery will transport visitors into the world of the painting, to discover and navigate previously unseen elements in forensic detail: the weave of the fabric, Gossaert’s fingerprint in the green glaze where he blotted it, thistles and dead nettles, hairs sprouting from a wart on a cheek, a tiny pearl, and a hidden angel.

The National Gallery commissioned Theresa Lola, who until recently was Young Poet Laureate for London, to write a poem that explores one of the depicted characters, King Balthasar’s experience of this transformative moment in time.

As visitors leave the pods and return to view the painting with “new eyes and perspectives”, the voice of King Balthasar narrates his journey through a world on the brink of change.

Social distancing is an integral part of the exhibition, with the pods accommodating a maximum of two visitors from the same booking at one time. Visitors will not be asked to share a pod with other members of the general public.

Throughout the exhibition, measures such as viewing stations, queuing systems and sanitation points will be put in place to adhere to government Covid guidance so that the exhibition can be enjoyed safely. In addition, headphones used for the digital element of the exhibition will be carefully sanitised after each use by steward staff.

Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said: “Sensing the Unseen offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of this sensational masterpiece, in the deep and rich story it tells and in the artistry that made it.

“This show was very popular with visitors to Trafalgar Square, so we are delighted it is now going on the road to Winchester Cathedral as our first ever touring digital exhibition, so many more people are able to enjoy it.”

The exhibition will be at Winchester Cathedral for ten weeks, opening on January 22 and continuing until April 3.