A cosplay event offers visitors a chance to pose as iconic figures from the world’s great paintings at the Otsuka Museum of Art. (Tsunetaka Sato)

NARUTO, Tokushima Prefecture--It’s an immersive experience that allows participants to feel like they are stepping onto the canvas of some of the world’s great paintings.

The Otsuka Museum of Art, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening, is hosting a cosplay event through Oct. 28 for art lovers who want to experience their favorite works of art.

To enhance the feeling, the museum has prepared large pieces of wallpaper mimicking the backgrounds of the original paintings. Visitors serve as the final piece of the masterpieces as they strike a pose with the wallpaper in the background.

“It is like having a conversation with the paintings through cosplay,” said curator Kyoko Tomizawa. “You would carefully appreciate the works as you think, ‘What was the pose like?’ before dressing up for photo shoots. We want it to be a catalyst for visitors to learn more (about the paintings).”

The event has become a much-anticipated tradition that provides costumes inspired by the classic paintings, offering visitors a new way of enjoying their favorite works of art.

Participants can wear costumes modeled after wardrobes and objects from 20 classic paintings that would be easily recognized even by those who are unfamiliar with art, including Jean Francois Millet’s “The Gleaners” and Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.”

Of these, nine costumes are in the motif of van Gogh’s works. In addition to the figures from “The Potato Eaters” and “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat,” visitors can don clothes themed on flowers and a building featured in some of his masterpieces including “Sunflowers” and “The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise.”

Two women from the Kanto region took pictures of themselves in cosplay with their smartphones.

“We get caught up while we’re doing it,” one of them said. “We can also boast that we became part of the paintings.”

The first art cosplay event was held for children during their summer vacation in 2013. But now, adults enjoy the event more than children.

The costumes were created by 10 students studying fashion at the Department of Spatial Design at Kyoto University of Art and Design in Kyoto and one graduate. They said they looked into art books and other publications and paid close attention to creating the wardrobes as close as possible to the originals, while they occasionally used pieces of cloth with brighter colors than the paintings.

Based on the assumption that participants upload pictures on social networking websites after they take them, it is intended to make the cosplayers catch the eye of viewers, they added.

They used snap buttons and double-sided fastening tape for the costumes to make them easy to put on and take off, with the attire available in a size wearable by men and women of all ages.